Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, and the site of their murder
Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, and the site of their murderNasser Ishtayeh/Flash90, photos of Yaniv brothers courtesy of their family

Hillel Yaniv, who was murdered alongside his brother Yagel in a shooting attack on Sunday in Huwara, had made an attempt to acquire a gun for self-defense, a new report has revealed, but his application was rejected in accordance with regulations established by the Ministry of Public Security in recent years.

Hillel, who was 22 when he was murdered, recently completed his mandatory military service in the Israeli Navy. He was a hesder yeshiva student who combined Torah study with IDF service, which involves between 18 and 24 months of studies, followed by 17 months of military training, and then a combination of the two until 48 months in total are concluded.

As such, government regulations regarded him, in the final stage of his service, as having yet to complete mandatory service even though he had actually completed his military training, making him ineligible for a firearms license, despite the fact that he complied with all the other criteria.

A close friend of Hillel told Israel National News that they had discussed getting a gun in one of their recent, regular conversations, and that Hillel told him that he was waiting to complete his hesder program, be formally discharged from the army, and have his gun license application approved. "It's insane that even after completing the military phase of his army track, a hesder soldier can't obtain the means for self-defense," he said.

Aharon Halperin is the director of a campaign to pressure the National Security Ministry to restore the original version of gun licensing regulations which permitted hesder students to acquire a gun license at a certain point during their mandatory service. He claims that it was a former Likud Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, who altered the regulations and created the current problem. "Thousands of hesder students were affected by Erdan's reforms and had their gun license applications denied," he told Israel National News.

Halperin added that, "It's tragic to hear that someone who was murdered in a terrorist attack was a yeshiva student whose gun license application was rejected, using this ridiculous argument that he was still considered a soldier on active service. Who knows if this incident could have ended differently if the two brothers had had the means to defend themselves?

"No one has looked into this issue properly," he continued. "We have appealed to numerous public officials but nothing has been done, even though army representatives who attended a meeting to disuss this insisted that officers and career soldiers should be permitted to take out a gun license, and expressed concern that yeshiva students and other soldiers on active service were not permitted to do so. It's shameful that people who have completed a track in combat service cannot defend themselves and are murdered because of bureaucratic nonsense.

"Minister Ben-Gvir has already fixed some of the problems in the firearms licensing process," Halperin noted, "but unfortunately he skipped dealing with this particular issue. In another month it will be Ramadan, and we all know that a very difficult period with many terrorist attacks [G-d forbid] is expected. We ask of Minister Ben-Gvir that he not abandon us as his predecessors did, and that he grant us the basic right to be able to defend ourselves."

Meanwhile, according to a report in the Hebrew-language Shevi'i, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has ordered the firearms licensing department within his ministry to alter the clause in the regulations that prevents hesder students who have completed their military training from obtaining a license to carry a personal firearm.