Police on Monday encouraged licensed gun owners to carry their weapons to synagogues over the High Holiday period, as the security establishment registered a rise in terror alerts in the lead-up to the Yom Kippur fast day.
Police said in a statement that there has been a 15 percent increase in terror warnings compared to the two months before the holidays and that security forces were at a heightened alert level due to the threats.
Licensed gun owners were urged “to carry their gun in these times.”
The police statement said the number of alerts will likely rise further in the lead-up to Yom Kippur, which begins on Sunday evening.
“Therefore, we call on worshipers who have licensed gun to bring them to prayers. In addition, we call on the public in general to be aware and report any unusual incident in real-time to the police 100 hotline,” the statement read. …
Gun control in Israel has traditionally been relatively strict, with licenses generally only granted to those who can show a need for extra security in their line of work or daily life. Citizens in nearly all cases can own a single gun and only 50 bullets at a given time.
But far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, an advocate of relaxing the laws, has moved forward with easing ownership regulations, claiming having more licensed gun carriers could help combat waves of terror attacks and criminal gun violence that police and security forces have struggled to contain.