'No Choice': Ordinary Israelis Arm Themselves

Screwdrivers, crowbars, and sticks: Jerusalemites reveal they are using any means to keep safe amid terror wave.

Tova Dvorin,

Israelis buy guns in Jerusalem, Oct. 11, 2015
Israelis buy guns in Jerusalem, Oct. 11, 2015
Miriam Alster/Flash90

With stabbings and shootings escalating by the day, Israelis are resorting to arming themselves to stay safe - often with unconventional means. 

Social media abounds with ideas for self-defense, ranging from knives and pepper spray to long umbrellas and wasp spray. 

To understand what Israelis are doing practically, however, Walla! News spoke to several ordinary citizens arming themselves with what they have. 

"I decided to keep with me an iron crowbar, a tool to save myself or to rescue others, what can be done to save the people of Israel," Yihezkel Cohen, 29, stated to the daily. Cohen, a Jerusalemite, delivers pastries to bakeries. "It's been in my car since yesterday." 

"Everyone needs to grab a tool - there's no choice," he added. "In recent attacks, civilians were the ones who stopped the terrorist the most quickly."  

Cohen explained that in every attack, terrorists have been focused on close contact with their victims. 

For that reason, he said, "you have to have something big, a long knife to attack him."

"While security forces are doing their job, the people who are there first are ordinary citizens, like me, and therefore we need to be prepared. One hit with this thing can neutralize any terrorist." 

"This screwdriver can save my life"

Others improvise with other measures.

51 year-old Avraham David, from Ma'ale Adumim, commutes to Jerusalem for work. He has begun to carry a stick and a screwdriver. 

"If the Arabs will come and attack a Jew, I want to be the one to come and defend him," he said.

David added that while he trusts security forces, he wants to know that he has a weapon on hand in the event they do not show up in time. 

"If they aren't be here when an Arab begins to run wild here with a knife, will I sit and wait for them to arrive?" he asked. "Until someone dies here, and then maybe more?" 

"I'm not taking any chances," he assured. "This screwdriver could save my life." 

Conventional means

Hodaya Cohen, 22, from Jerusalem, has armed herself with pepper spray.

"It's scary to be left without protection," she said. "You walk around town, feel like you're all exposed, without safety, with no security - then you have no choice but to defend yourself. I bought this spray today and from now on it's going to go out with me everywhere."

Mordechai (not his real name), 28, who asked to remain anonymous, also lives in Jerusalem. He has a gun license for his security job, but he now states that he walks around with his pistol all the time. Usually, he noted, he prefers to leave it locked up safely at home. 

"The gun, more than the protection [itself], also provides a safe environment," he reflected. "There's no choice: you have to be secure and be ready to defend yourself and your relatives."

"If a terrorist comes at me - I will not think twice, I do not 'neutralize' anyone. I unequivocally will kill him." 


More Arutz Sheva videos:


top