gun (illustration)
gun (illustration) Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Prime Minister's Officer Director-General Tzachi Braverman is demanding that Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to take responsibility and act as soon as possible to address the phenomenon of "Airsoft" rifles - a toy rifle - being converted into a deadly weapon.

"Recently, we have witnessed a series of unfortunate incidents, which have claimed lives, due to a determined government failure to address issues that have been warned about," Braverman wrote in a letter, "We do not want to add Airsoft to the unflattering list of failures."

A senior law enforcement official revealed to Israel Today that about a third of the weapons used by the Arab rioters in the recent riots and those captured are "toys" that have been converted into real weapons.

Economy and Industry Minister Amir Peretz has previously warned the Ministry of Public Security about the lack of enforcement in the field of Airsoft guns, but nothing has been done on the issue.

Airsoft is a firearm-like device, used for sports and leisure and is currently defined as a "dangerous toy" in accordance with the order, and falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy. In practice, according to the director general of the Prime Minister's Office, "since it is easy to obtain and can be easily converted into a firearm for everything, there are thousands of illegal weapons in various sectors."

Braverman added in his letter to Ohana that in the terrorist attacks in which the Henkin couple were killed (2015), as well as Levanah Malichi and Maj. Gen. Yossi Kirma, (2016) the murders were carried out using modified Airsoft guns, and that as it is a 'dangerous toy,' it puts the public in grave danger.

The National Security Council has also raised the issue of 'dangerous toys' being converted into weapons.

The issue of regulating Airsoft guns has been controversial for several years, and the Ministry of Economy has been warning for years about its inability to oversee the issue as required.

The State Comptroller's report recently published commented on the need to regulate the issue, and in discussions with relevant professionals - as part of the government's work on dealing with crime and violence in Arab society - there was widespread agreement on the need to address the issue.

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