JERUSALEM—Gun-store owner Itzhak Mizrahi has sold out of canisters of tear gas and electric stun guns after weeks of stabbing attacks by Palestinians against Israelis have prompted many to arm themselves.
“Everybody is afraid,” said Mr. Mizrahi, as he sold a customer a Glock 9x19mm pistol for 4,200 shekels ($1,095). “If somebody comes at you with a knife, you don’t want to take a chance about it.”
As the bloodshed that has left eight Israelis and at least 35 Palestinians dead—including at least 18 suspected assailants that Israeli forces have killed—shows no signs of easing, civilians across Israel are dusting off old guns and buying new ones to defend themselves.
On Sunday night, Israeli police said a Palestinian gunman opened fire on civilians at the central bus station in the southern city of Be’er Sheva, wounding six civilians and five police officers. Police shot and killed the assailant.
Israeli officials have said Palestinians perpetrated more than 25 stabbing attacks against civilians, police and armed forces since mid-September, including five assaults on Saturday. As a result, some civilians are heeding calls by some senior politicians to carry guns to help fight Palestinian attackers.
In the wake of the attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has introduced some of Israel’s harshest security measures in a decade. More than 3,000 policemen patrol Jerusalem and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed nationwide. Security forces surround neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and officers with assault rifles ride trains and buses.
The Israeli prime minister says the Palestinian assailants were inspired on social media and in mosques. “The current terror campaign in Israel is a result of continuous Palestinian incitement,” Mr. Netanyahu said last week.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said he would meet Mr. Netanyahu in Germany this week and travel to the Middle East to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to calm tensions.
Israeli civilians already have used guns to fend off Palestinian attacks, police said. On Saturday, an Israeli man shot and killed a Palestinian man who allegedly tried to attack him with a knife in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Last week, a civilian security guard shot and killed a Palestinian attacker after he had run over pedestrians.
Jerusalem has been the epicenter of attacks as unrest flared in September over access to the Temple Mount, a compound in the Old City that is holy to both Jews and Muslims, who call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is encouraging residents to carry arms if they have a military or security-forces background.
“I don’t know of one negative incident of guns with people who have a license,” said Mr. Barkat. “There’s only positive experience in our country.”
Members of the police, military and security contractors, ex-military officers of a certain rank and civilians living in areas deemed dangerous, such as the West Bank, are allowed to own firearms, Israeli police said.
Read more: The Wall Street Journal
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