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Gaza war: Israeli women seeking gun permits triples to 42,000 after Hamas' October 7 massacre

In response to heightened insecurity after a significant Hamas attack on October 7, over 42,000 Israeli women applied for gun permits, with 18,000 approvals. This surge in applications exceeds three times the number of pre-war licenses held by women, as reported by the security ministry.
 

Gaza war: Israeli women seeking gun permits triples to 42,000 after Hamas' October 7 massacre anr
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First Published Jun 23, 2024, 12:27 PM IST

After the unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7, over 42,000 women in Israel have applied for gun permits, of which 18,000 have been approved. The surge in applications is believed to stem from heightened insecurity following the attack. Data from the security ministry reveals that the number of applications exceeds three times the pre-war licenses held by women.

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Feminist organizations have voiced criticism against the recent increase in gun ownership among women. The surge in firearm possession has been made possible by the relaxation of gun regulations under Israel's right-wing government and its far-right security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir. As a result, over 15,000 women civilians now possess firearms in Israel and the occupied West Bank, with 10,000 of them undergoing mandatory training, as reported by the ministry.

"I would have never thought of buying a weapon or getting a permit, but since October 7, things changed a little bit," Limor Gonen, a political science professor, was quoted as saying in an AFP report.

 "We were all targeted (on October 7) and I don't want to be taken by surprise, so I'm trying to defend myself," Gonen said. 

Under Itamar Ben Gvir's leadership, the process of obtaining a gun license has been expedited in Israel. Reports from Israeli media indicate that following the Hamas attack, authorities were approving hundreds of permits daily. Eligibility criteria now include being a citizen or permanent resident aged 18 or older, proficiency in Hebrew, and passing a medical evaluation. However, the comprehensive list of requirements makes it extremely challenging for non-Jews to qualify for a permit.

The attack on October 7, which initiated the conflict, resulted in the deaths of 1,194 individuals in Israel, primarily civilians, as per Israeli official reports. In retaliation, Israel's military actions have reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least 37,431 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to statements from the Hamas health ministry.

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