Breaking: Israel Does Not Arm Its Teachers

There’s a meme circulating around Penis-extendville, Gunnutistan where it is averred that there are no school shootings in Israel because this picture exists: 

Click to enlarge

You’ve probably seen it at least once on Facebook. Or in a chain e-mail like the one above. 

So, is it true that Israeli teachers are armed? It would be half of Gunnutistan‘s wet dream – don’t pay the teachers, but give them each a nice, shiny weapon. Because derp. 

Well, the answer is no. Israeli teachers are not armed. In fact, it’s unlikely that the person shown above is a teacher at all

There may be some exceptions in dangerous areas like the West Bank (where five percent of Israelis live), but in general, Israeli teachers are not walking around like it’s the Wild Wild West, strapped with a six shooter. No, our teachers are not focused on shooting, but educating. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t protect young students.

In the picture, the students are on an outing. While it appears that the teacher is holding a rifle, I have never seen such a thing in ten years of living here. Rest assured however, they are under armed protection. In most cases it is an armed guard or a soldier that will accompany a class, not the teacher. And my guess is that the woman with the gun is a security guard, not a teacher.

Secondly, they are not armed in the classroom. Is that really the image you want to imprint on the minds of six-year-olds? (That would be Hamas). On the other hand, I have never seen a school in Israel that was not fenced in. You must go through a locked gate that is guarded by an armed shomer, a security guard. He or she, on the other hand, is not concerned with educating, but protecting. He or she will ask you why you are there? What is your child’s name? Show me your I.D. card. And he or she would not let you bring a weapon inside.

These types of massacres don’t seem to happen here for other reasons as well. Despite the stereotype of Israel being a violent nation, it is a million times (slight exaggeration) easier to get a weapon in the U.S. than it is in Israel. Gun control laws are very strict here.

Two types of people have guns in Israel: Soldiers and those with licenses. Mentally unstable people don’t have guns—and thus, don’t shoot people. And it is not as easy to steal a gun as it is in the U.S. When you are drafted you go through mental tests to see if there are any red flags. If so, you will be discharged or placed in an area where you would never see a rifle.

 HAH! Can you imagine? Show me your ID card?  The black helicopter set would blame n0bama and Kenya and socialism. 

So, given that firearms are often seen within the Jewish State – a country literally surrounded by enemies – who’s got the guns? 

…guns are ubiquitous in Israel, where most 18-year-olds are drafted into the army after high school.

However, once those soldiers finish their service two or three years later, they are subject to civilian gun control regulations that are much stricter than American laws.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible for civilians who live in Israel to acquire an arsenal of weaponry of the sort used by the alleged shooter in last week’s massacre in Aurora, Colo. James E. Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in the Aurora movie theater, legally bought the firearms he used, according to reports, including a semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. Leading up to the shooting, Holmes had bought thousands of bullets online.

In Israel, assault rifles are banned except for special circumstances, such as communal self-defense in areas deemed to be a security risk. And while political violence in Israel is all too common and gun violence is a growing problem, random shootings of strangers – like the Aurora massacre — are virtually unheard-of here.

Unlike in the United States, where the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution’s Second Amendment, Israel’s department of public security considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right. Gun owners in Israel are limited to owning one pistol, and must undergo extensive mental and physical tests before they can receive a weapon, and gun owners are limited to 50 rounds of ammunition per year.

Not all Israelis, however, may own guns. In order to own a pistol, an Israeli must for two years have been either a captain in the army or a former lieutenant colonel. Israelis with an equivalent rank in other security organizations may also own a pistol. 

In addition, residents of West Bank settlements, and those who work there, may own pistols for self-defense.

Other groups of Israelis, such as professional hunters and sharpshooters, or people transporting dangerous goods, may also own firearms. And Israelis may keep unloaded guns they inherited or received as a gift.

Lior Nedivi, a former police officer, said that despite Israel’s militarized society, neither soldiers nor veterans engage in extensive gun violence because 18-year-olds are tested for mental and physical fitness before being drafted.

In 2008, 143 people in Israel died from firearms, according to the website 

“They don’t recruit everyone,” said Nedivi, who runs a company called Advanced Forensic Science Services. “If you are a person with a record of violence, you will be discharged.”

Screening, licensing, a limit on ammunition, and self-defense only. Nothing there about overthrowing the tyranny of the state. 

For his part, Mr. Paladino claims in his email that the Newtown shooter, 

We don’t need more gun control.  Lanza could have killed all those people with a screwdriver.  Are we going to ban screwdrivers next?   We need armed and trained teachers.  A policeman in a school can be identified and neutralized first. Armed teachers in various numbers can’t be identified. That will keep the loonies away. We have made our schools perfect targets for lunatics by making them gun free zones. When Lanza heard the sirens he killed himself. The loonies, much like Obama and his liberal devotees, are cowards.

Lanza could have killed 20 people in a matter of a few minutes with a screwdriver? Considering he shot some of the victims up to 11 times, he could have stabbed them each multiple times with a screwdriver? And a teacher would have been defenseless against a screwdriver? Did the screwdriver the author envisions have a mechanism with which to semi-automatically fire bullets at people, one after another? 

And perish the thought that we would have police or security guards in school. A wily kid-murderer could “identify” and “neutralize” them first. Because the right wing always, incessantly, relentlessly operates from a viewpoint of fear, it is therefore assumed that we must turn our schools into Supermax prison-style fortresses with armed teachers and kids in body armor. These kids are then rushed in motorcades from their secure gated, walled communities to their Supermax security schools, and thus can we complete the descent from rational first-world superpower into a plutocratic mirror image of Zimbabwe or Mauritania. 

Of all the stupid ideas that Gunnutistan has come up with as a “response” to Newtown, arming the teachers is the most dangerous and idiotic. 

Maybe take the money you’d otherwise spend on a firearm and give those teachers a fucking raise. 


  • “Teachers are all lazy, corrupt leeches, and tools of the communist unions. They’re too stupid and useless to get real jobs. Let’s give ’em all guns!”

  • I’ve always been a Second Amendment guy and still am, but me and a host of Republicans I know believe that some reasonableness needs to be brought to this debate.  Lanza may have attacked with a screwdriver but if he did, I can guarantee he would have been stopped before 26 people were killed.  There is a combination of gun, mental health and cultural issues that all should be on the table.

  • One other point, be it gun control or fiscal cliff or anything else, what the hell happened to compromise?  I cannot stress enough how sick I am of ideological purists who believe agreement is some how selling out.  Banning some high magazine clips is not equivalent to the government knocking on your door and prying your hunting rifle from your hands.  If I didn’t disagree with so much on the left, I might be looking to change my registration.

    • Well, interesting you should mention that. Re: fiscal cliff, Obama went back on a campaign promise and suggested tax hikes on income over 400k, vs. the earlier 250k. Boehner went from zero to $1MM. The likely compromise figure is 500k, which was the Buffett proposal, but Boehner is so weakened by the tea party idiots in his midst that he can’t even get them to back $1MM. 

      Now, it’s up to the President to try and reason with the relative grownups in the Senate. 

      •  Obama is in no way a grownup and the majority of the senate fails to qualify there as well. They are all habitual liars and theives.

  • “In addition, residents of West Bank settlements, and those who work there, may own pistols for self-defense.” They may also own assault rifles. They may also shoot down Palestinians, including Palestinian children, with impunity–see B’tselem: Also, Israel has bombed schools in Gaza with white phosphorus, and killed a fourth grader just a month ago: “On 18 November 2012, a Grade 4 student at the UNRWA Beach Preparatory Girls’ School died following an Israeli airstrike to an open area in the north of Beach Camp.”

    Maybe we should look elsewhere for role models and try to find a country that isn’t engaged in a violent colonial occupation. Sweden, maybe? Luxembourg? Or, we could solve our gun violence problem tomorrow, Israel-style: just classify all victims as “Palestinians” and “terrorists.”

    • Sweden occupied Norway for many years.  Further, there are many forums specifically focused on the two-way street of shooting and bombing, and where these issues can be addressed.

      • Right, but I don’t see a lot of armed Swedish colonists in Norway these days. In the final sentence, you seem to be saying “shut up.” I respectfully decline.  And my comment wasn’t focused on “the two-way street of shooting and bombing,” but on Israel’s systematic murder of children, including by shooting, for which, see more here: Since Alan’s Israeli informant does a little propaganda work for Israel’s colonial occupation. I corrected him.

        And this just in: the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre are blaming violent video games, and saying we need armed guards in school.

        • In the Middle East there have been civilian killings every which way since time immemorial, no place there that I can think of  is immune or innocent. Then there’s Chechnya, Georgia-Russia, the issue of China-Tibet and other on-again/off-again hot spots where territory is at issue and so it goes.
          No , I don’t mean for you to shut up. It’s just that I’m more used to a different side of Artvoice. And I see these kinds of exchanges in a lot of other publications.  However,  if they print articles like this, everyone naturally has a right, and should have a right,  to express their comments.
          I don’t have an immediate answer to Mr. La Pierre. But I have worked in public schools for many years, some with police officers on permanent duty. And it’s often observed that regardless of that , much to do with students, good and bad, begins at home.

        •  Some of us would agree with La Pierre and call you the maniac. You and the leftwing idiots that are destroying this country and wiping their collective butts with the Constitution. To be fair there are supposed right wingers wiping with it as well.

    • “They may also own assault rifles.”

      Bull. No one in Israel is allowed to own assault rifles
      except the IDF, Police and the security establishment. Anyone who told you that
      settlers can OWN assault weapons is an a$$ and a liar.

      If you’re using B’tselem as your sole reference, or in
      conjunction with Palestinian sources, then you’re accepting untruths as gospel.
      B’tselem’s record is, at best, questionable. The EU pulled its funding from it
      several years ago because of pro-Palestinian bias. Suffice it to say that
      B’tselem doesn’t know what the word “objective” means.

      What can happen in the settlements is that some (very
      specific, well-tested and well-trained) people are allowed to borrow an
      automatic weapon as a member of the settlement’s swift reaction team. Any
      shooting incident is investiugated thoroughly by the Police Internal
      Investigation unit.

    • “On 18 November 2012, a Grade 4 student at the UNRWA Beach Preparatory Girls’ School died following an Israeli airstrike to an open area in the north of Beach Camp.”

      Isn’t it strange that Palestinian sources admitted a couple of days later that she died of wounds suffered from a Qassam missile that failed to launch properly and fell a few hundred meters from its launch point? Aside from that, what does this have tro do with the topic of the article?

      “Israel has bombed schools in Gaza with white phosphorus”

      This is an unproven allegation. Even the Goldstone report didn’t accuse Israel of deliberately bombing any schools with WP. Again, what does this have to do with the article’s topic?

      Mr. Holstun, I would suggest that rather than accept everything bad you hear about Israel, you might actually take the time to see for yourself… and see how your media lies to you every day.

  • Arming teachers is a great idea, until one of them becomes unhinged and shoots up a school.  Then, the conservative meatheads will argue that we need to arm the students to make them safer.  Then my head will explode.

  • Those teachers should have just used their pens to fight the guy off.  We know they can be just as effective as screwdrivers. 

  •  My wife has taught high school in Israel for a number of years, and got hysterical when she read the article about arming teachers. She said that the day she had to wear a gun to class would be the day she stopped teaching.

    What amazes me is that on the one had, people don’t want to accept the security measures needed to prevent such attacks (fences around schools, armed guards hired for that specific purpose, banning assault weapons, etc.), yet complain when such an attack takes place.

    People in the US have become too enamored with their own individual rights to consider that living in a society means giving up or limiting some of those rights because they infringe on the rights of other individuals or on the rights of society itself.

    Wake up, people, your own obstinacy is what allows things like Newtown happen.

    •  Creating gun free zones is what allows things like Sandy Hook to happen. You wake up. Creating an ever more immoral and secular society causes this to happen.  There is no such thing as an “assault weapon” and people need to stop using the term. I for one would trust teachers to be armed an find nothing wrong with it. If they want to fence in the school and place guards out side thats fine too.

      • Apparently, both Patrick Rice and medic2003 have reading comprehension problems. I’d like either one of them (or both of them together) to explain and point out where I said “remove all meas of defense” or “creating a gun-free zone”, when I advocated neither.

        This is what I DID say: “What amazes me is that on the one had, people don’t want to accept the security measures needed to prevent such attacks (fences around schools, armed guards hired for that specific purpose, banning assault weapons, etc.), yet complain when such an attack takes place.”

        For the gentlemen who need an explanation, here it is:
        1) DO NOT arm teachers. Hire veterans with combat experience to be armed guards at educational institutions. (This automatically rejects the concept of a “gun free zone”). Reliable studies have shown that even about 80% of trained but inexperienced soldiers (rookies, if you will) freeze during their first fire-fight and don’t fire a shot. Is there any reason to think that a teacher, who did not sign on as a teacher to fight, will do any better?
        2) Pay attention to normal, logical security measures: fences, controlled entrances, perimeter cameras, identification of visitors, sign in sheets for visitors and the like). This tends to discourage people who want to commit such acts and encourages them to look for softer targets.
        3) Accept the fact that NO system is perfect. Crazies will always be present in any society, but the means and the awareness for treatment of such people in the US sucks. The more people who are treated for mental illness successfully reduces the chances of events like Sandy Hook happening. but they will not be entirely prevented.

        To medic 2003: the arms industry uses the term “assault rifle” for any weapon with a magazine holding more than 10 bullets and capable of firing more than one bullet ata single squeeze of the trigger. Deal with it. As an IDF vetertan of 3 wars, in each of which I carried an assault weapon, as well as 30 years of service as a reservist, I categorically deny that there is ANY logical reason for a civilian to own such a weapon and keep it in his/her home, period.

        I have to wonder what was on Adam Lanza’s mother’s mind, putting guns in the same house with a disturbeed, isolated and lonely young man. It was certainly not the best parental decision she could have made.

        To Patrick Rice: Hopefully, you will now understand what I said and retract your ridiculously insulting comment… and understand that to find the real @$$hole in this discussion, all you have to do is look in the mirror.

    •  The first step in tyranny is to remove all means of defense – Step 1.a. DISARM the population.  Mike – sadly you are an A$$HOLE!

  • In Israel, guns are plentiful in the street, carried by settlers, soldiers, and security personnel, including the guards in front of schools, restaurants and malls.  Yes – in front of schools. Teachers are not armed in the classroom.  I have never seen a school in Israel that was not fenced in. You must go through a locked gate that is guarded by an armed shomer, a security guard. He or she,  is not concerned with educating, but protecting.  He or she will ask you why you are there? “What is your child’s name?” “Show me your I.D. card.” And he or she would not let you bring a weapon inside.

    So, yes, schools are protected by guns – outside.

  • I was begining to wonder if I had my fact wrong until the last sentance of the author, When it looks and smells like a skunk you can bet it is a skunk, in this case just another foul mouthed liberal 

    • 2009 article about an incident at a school in an illegal Israeli West Bank settlement, printed in a Christianist paper that takes an interest in Israel only because Jesus’ second coming.

      You were saying?

  • Israel could learn a lot from Sweden. It was voted as one of the best places to live in the world. There has never been a school shooting ever. It is one of the safest places in the world to raise kids. Shootings are unheard of in Sweden. As is child abuse. Sweden could teach Israel a whole lot.

  • You should better arm your teacher

  • It is you that are fear mongering, fearing someone is going to shoot you or someone around you.  Gun lobbyists are just saying, look they’re not the problem… Where is the fear in that?  Everyone so quick to point the finger but fail to realize that there are 4 more pointing back at yourself.. 

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