Gun totin' moms
Gun totin' moms

Three months ago I purchased a handgun.

We can call it my mid-life-crisis. We can call me a gun-nut. We can call me a fan of the Second Amendment (although Israel does not consider gun ownership a right).

I know exactly why I want to be armed.

My twin sons first donned IDF uniforms over a year ago and I saw a vivid target coalesce over them.

All of us living in Israel might be perceived as legitimate targets in the eyes of our, “cousins,” (that’s a euphemism for the other biblically recognized children of Abraham) but a soldier is also seen as, “an enemy combatant,” or a, “military target,” or a lethal threat to the gleeful spread of murder.

When the twins began bringing their micro-tavor assault-rifles home, I guarantee every single Muslim working in our neighborhood noticed them.

Clearly: I cannot follow them into the field nor can I march 70 kilometers with over 50 kilos of gear. But: I will do anything and everything to make our home a sanctuary and a place to refuel from all the army demands. (Living on base is not easy but there’s always someone standing guard while you sleep; there’s always someone around to cover your back.)

I choose to live in a country teeming with potential terrorists; I choose to live in a city surrounded by Muslim villages; I choose to live next to the security fence (close enough to hear the sheep bleat)...
There are other reasons for having a gun permit: I choose to live in a country teeming with potential terrorists; I choose to live in a city surrounded by Muslim villages; I choose to live next to the security fence (close enough to hear the sheep bleat). Lastly, I choose to drive my sons (and other soldiers living in Betar Illit) to the far ends of our country. I always have a well armed guard in one direction . . . yet the other direction can be quite desolate, isolated and a very bad place for a flat tire.

Regardless of my personal reasoning I believe and asert: every single religious Israeli woman ought to apply for a gun permit.

Using myself as an example, it’s difficult to imagine a less threatening gun owner.

I’m effervescent. I smile at EVERYONE. I’m warm and full of vim and vigor. I’m quick to offer assistance. I once overheard myself referred to as,  “A ray of sunshine.” And NO ONE expects expansiveness to be armed.

Call me sexist but I think the next step in Israeli preservation is to arm the people our enemies overlook: women.

The prejudice even dwells in the minds of Israeli men or with at least one Israeli security guard:

On, April 2, 2018, I had a 17 hour adventure with my younger sister and her three daughters. We drove from Betar Illit/Ramat Beit Shemesh (yes, I’m jealous of myself for having a sister nearby) to the Golan and back.

The twins, “HaTeumim b’Tomer,”  [“The Twins in Tomer”], unique because siblings are generally not allowed to concurrently serve in the same battalion, and Tomer is the first haredi unit in the IDF Givati infantry brigade, spent the Pesach holiday on base. I did my best to see them, feed them and just make them smile.

We left at 4:30 AM, dropped off Pesach cakes, borrowed some hats and went to see Nimrod’s Fortress and the Banias Waterfalls.

Pulling up to the security guard at the entrance to one of the national parks I was routinely asked, “Do you have a gun?” (In Hebrew.)

To which I answered (in my naturally exuberant manner), “Yes.”

The guard looked surprised and very slowly, in English, asked me, “Do . . . you . . . have . . . a . . . weapon?”

Nonplussed but respectful I, again, answered, “Yes.”

At this point I think he suspects I am a stupid-American-tourist.

He asks . . . and this just makes me laugh . . . it’ll be the theme for my new movement, “At b’tucha? Are you sure?” (In both Hebrew and English.)

At which point I hand him my gun permit.

At which point he asks me, “Where is the gun?”

I show him the gun holstered on my belt.

At which point he says (this part is weird, but bubbly people aren’t easily offended), “I need to see the gun.”

At which point I (calmly) say, “I am not giving you my gun.” Security guards are not police officers and no one pulls a gun out in public.

On the extremely opposite end (what I’ve learned to expect from security guards) the next guard sees the gun permit and gives me the most fantastic smile. He asks, “Yesh lach neshek?” [“Do you {feminine} have a gun?”] I again say, “Yes.” He says, “Yoffi!” [“Great.”] gives me a thumbs up and waves us on.

Yes, guns are dangerous. Yes, even if a weapon is only used when clearly needed, someone might be sent to prison. Yes, most religious women are surrounded by young children and possibly pregnant. Yes, it’s a huuuuuge responsibility. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a bit heavy to wear 24 hours a day. Yes, friends think I’ve gained weight. Yes, yes, yes . . . the challenges go on but the benefit . . .

My grandmother liked to say, “G-d helps those who help themselves.” I think we call this, “Doing our hishtadlut.” [“required effort”]

The world we currently live in seems to me to require us to stretch beyond the familiar and comfortable. We are “N’shei Hayil;” [“Righteous Women”] we aren’t helpless, we are strong, we can learn anything and we are the unexpected.

The Office of Israeli Security has a wonderful website. They offer the possibility of starting your application online and they list all the licensed gun dealers in the country. I opened my application file in September and received permission to purchase a gun within 10 weeks.

A certain level of Hebrew is required. I think the most important word I learned is, “armed;” as in, “At hamusha?” [“Are you armed?”]

The website also offers the form you will need your personal physician to sign. Appointments at the Jerusalem branch were readily available in addition to having almost instant access to an actual human being, every time I called.

Go to it!

(And for those who wish to know, since the issue of women carrying weapons is a halakhic one, I consulted and received permission from my extremely charedi rav, in Betar Illit, to purchase a gun and carry it on Shabbat too..)