ARE ISRAELI TEACHERS ARMED? Or, is it Just an Internet Myth?

Ron Cantor —  December 15, 2012 —  Comments

Inaccurate Photo with over 7,000 likes on Facebook

Several years ago, a picture made its way around the Internet and it prompted me to write this article. It is one of my most read blogs. The picture was posted after a school shooting, not unlike what happened in South Florida last week. It claims that Israeli teachers are packing heat. Well, are they?

Sorry to disappoint

The answer is “NO.” There may be some exceptions in dangerous areas like the West Bank (where five percent of Israelis live), but in general, Israeli teachers are not walking around like it’s the Wild Wild West (or Middle East), strapped with a six shooter. My wife was a teacher in the Israeli public school system and I am pretty sure she didn’t carry a gun (or want to). No, our teachers are not focused on shooting, but educating. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t protect young students.

In the picture, the students are on an outing. While it does appears that the teacher is holding a rifle, I have never seen such a thing in 15 years of living in Israel. Rest assured however, they is under armed protection. In most cases it is an armed guard or a soldier that will accompany a class, not the teacher, on a field trip. I remember going on such a trip with my daughter when she was in elementary school and yes, we had a young man with us, who was armed for our protection. And my guess is that the woman with the gun is a security guard, not a teacher.

Every School is Gated

Secondly, they are not armed in the classroom. Is that really the image you want to imprint on the minds of six-year-olds? (That would be Hamas) On the other hand. I have never seen a school in Israel that was not fenced in. You must go through a locked gate that is guarded by an armed shomer (security guard). He or she, on the other hand, is not concerned with educating, but protecting. He or she will ask you why you are there? “What is your child’s name?” “Show me your I.D. card.” And he or she would not let you bring a weapon inside.

These types of massacres don’t seem to happen here for other reasons as well. Despite the stereotype of Israel being a violent nation, it is a million times (slight exaggeration) easier to get a weapon in the US than it is in Israel. Gun Control laws are very strict here.

Impossible for Trouble People to Get Guns

Two types of people have guns in Israel: Soldiers and those with licenses. Mentally unstable people don’t have guns or access to guns—and thus, do not shoot people. And it is not as easy to steal a gun in Israel as it is in the US. When you are drafted you go through mental tests to see if there are any red flags. If so, you will be discharged or placed in an area where you would never see a rifle.

Only those with the rank of Captain or Lieutenant Colonel for at least two years can qualify to own a gun after the army. And those who do have guns are taught to guard them carefully. For soldiers who take their weapons home, it must be on their persons at all times or under lock and key.

Lose your Gun, Go to Jail

Losing a weapon will get you a jail sentence, as my wife’s childhood friend, Moti, found out two decades ago. He left his gun in his car because he was just running into a minimart. He came back and the gun was gone. He spent six months in jail and God only knows where that gun ended up.

Hunting is so regulated that is nearly non-existent. You would never see someone with five or six hunting rifles in their truck and therefore, their disturbed son, who spends ten hours a day playing violent video games, would not have access to such.

We are fond of saying Guns don’t kill people, people do… But we could also say that Mentally unstable people who can’t obtain assault rifles or even pistols are far less likely to commit mass murder.

Assault rifles are banned in Israel, except in areas where there is a security risk such as the West Bank.

“Unlike in the United States, where the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution’s Second Amendment, Israel’s department of public security considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right. Gun owners in Israel are limited to owning one pistol, and must undergo extensive mental and physical tests before they can receive a weapon, and gun owners are limited to 50 rounds of ammunition per year.” (

I don’t think that those who drafted the Second Amendment imagined that those who feel rejected at school or who were bullied would have access not merely to a musket that fires one bullet at a time before reloading, but to an arsenal of semi automatic assaults rifles that we see in so many of these school shootings. While am a firm believer in someone’s right to arm themselves for protection, I struggle seeing why there a need for semi-automatic assault rifles. It is argued that those intent on murder will find another way if they can’t get a gun. But this is not true. Many will simply not kill. Some will find another way, but it will be less lethal or gives authorities more time to stop the perpetrator.

I think the amendment was for people like Israelis who live in the West Bank and are under the threat of attack all the time. I am far too ignorant concerning the ‘Gun Control’ issue to give much of an educated opinion. But I don’t like people using Israel as an example, as we make it very difficult to own a gun.

Israel: Good Example

However, I think we should be an example of a country that makes sure that the right people get guns and the wrong people don’t. In 2008 an Arab terrorist opened fire in a Yeshiva (school for religious boys) killing eight young men. An off-duty IDF officer grabbed his gun, just as he was putting his kids to bed. He ran out of the house and into the Yeshiva, where he hunted down the terrorist, shooting him before a security guard also put two bullets in his head.

In another incident not long afterwards, a Arab worker went berserk with his bulldozer turning it into a killing machine. Oron Ben Shimon, an armed civilian, jumped onto the bulldozer along with a soldier. Ben Shimon struggled with the terrorist, while the soldier, at Ben Shimon’s urging, shot him dead, saving many lives.

Israel’s successful gun ownership laws both serve to make sure upstanding, brave and mentally sound citizens have access to guns, and that those who present even a minor threat are prevented from possessing one. It would be a mistake to use Israel as the poster child for more weapons in the US, as our success here is much more connected to limiting weapons and enabling strategies such as gates, fences and armed guards (not armed teachers), to protect our children. Sorry to disappoint, but the truth is important.

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  1. Abad Don says:

    If I see that damned pic one more time, I’m going to puke. Thanks for the article.

  2. aav1833 says:

    In the United States our second amendment is for defense against a tyrannical government as well as a foreign invasion. Our founders were very clear in addressing the people’s concerns over a federal government in control of a standing army. They felt that an armed population of “veterans”, larger in number than a standing army and comparably armed, would be sufficient to ward off a government intent on usurping the will of the people through the use if military force.

    1. I am a gun owner, and believe that gun owners
      have a duty to be part of the solution to prevent tragedies. It is not enough
      to scream about 2nd amendment rights, as that amendment was created during a
      time when militia members had to bring their own weapons to battle, and there
      was no such thing as an automatic of any kind.

    2. Ron Cantor says:

      aav, would you agree with me that with a large, professional well trained army, we don’t need to arm the people for fear of foreign invasion? For other reasons (hunting, self defense), not foreign invasion.

      1. jheckler says:

        I would totally disagree. Our troops are spread around over 800 military bases around the world. Our troops at home are disarmed. They are not allowed to carry loaded firearms on bases if they are on base. This is why you have the Fort Hood massacre, Washington Navy Yard Shooting, and the 2015 Chattanooga
        shootings (among others). If we were quickly invaded and overwhelmed by a large professional military (China for example), our military alone could not save us. One hundred million armed civillians (or even 10 million) however would give us a fighting chance (with our military). This would be the decisive factor in protecting our homeland and ensuring our freedom and sovereignty against such an invasion. This is one reason why the nation of Switzerland has the policies they do, in terms of firearms.

    3. Happy Camper says:

      I couldn’t agree more with your statement aav1833! The 2nd Amendment is the physical guarantor of the other Amendments. Anyone who says ‘times have changed’ or ‘guns have changed’ is entitled to their opinion, but they aren’t entitled to their own facts and I certainly don’t trust them with the future of the these United States of America.

  3. “I think the amendment was for people like Israelis who live in the West Bank and are under the threat of attack all the time. I am far too ignorant concerning the ‘Gun Control’ issue to give much of an educated opinion.”
    May suggest a book to read.

    Origins of the Right to Bear Arms
    By Stephen P. Halbrook

    Thanks for your point of view.

    1. Ron Cantor says:

      thank you Daniel!

  4. OldGuy says:

    Not much hunting in Israel because there aren’t many forests, and sheep don’t make good sport.

    1. We’re a “Big Country”, and venison tastes good, elk tastes good, etc.
      Also, the cost of freedom and an open society doesn’t come cheap.
      I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  5. Andrew. says:

    An uncle sent me that misleading picture after I posted a few rent-a-cops in schools would be a wiser move and go a long way in schools rather than arming the teachers. This article came in handy. 😀

    1. Ed Miller says:

      Putting Rent-a-Cops in schools would not make a diffrence. Now armed Security Officers, prior military or law enforcement, would be the smarter move.

      1. Ron Cantor says:

        In Israel every rent a cop has prior military experience!

  6. David Maddison says:

    I don’t think any amount of “gun control”, no matter how draconian, can stop a deranged individual committing mass murder. What would the reaction be if this person instead hijacked a school bus and drove it off a cliff or bridge etc.? And what has happened to society that trafedies like this just didn’t happen 20 or more years ago?

    1. Ron Cantor says:

      David, every bit of preventive measures help. You are right that it would not prevent them all, but it would prevent some. When I moved to Israel and I saw that all the malls had security guards at parking lots to malls, I thought, “How is that really going to stop anyone.” But I realized later that while they wont stop them all, they will prevent many. Progun folks are so sensitive, that even the mildest concern is received with disdain. It is time to be reasonable and not reactionary.

  7. MP says:

    Here is someone who seems to be able to speak to this somewhat authoritatively who has a different take on it:

    1. Ron Cantor says:

      My point was that teachers are not armed as a matter of policy as the picture seems to portray. Israel does not arm its teachers as a means of protecting children, but instead uses trained security professionals. While a small number of teachers may have gun permits, I have never seen a teacher with a gun (most guns are carried openly here on the belt, not concealed).

  8. Kev says:

    So since Isreal’s laws are effective, let’s assume that’s the ONLY effective way to do things and strip Americans of their right to own guns and ammo. Wrong. Use the guards, the fences; bolt the classroom doors, make the windows bulletproof. The only way to fix a problem is at it’s root, and it’s root are the mentally disturbed. Require counseling at schools, records being shared only between doctors, psychiatrists, teachers, and parents. When at at-risk student is identified, require more in-depth counsel so that any conditions can be determined. If conditions are determined that would indicate a strong possibility of a future shooter, list them in a no-gun registry, just like a no-fly list. Are you going to keep them all from finding a weapon? Of course not, but you’re going to slow or stop many of them, which will lead to less mass murders. I have a long list or reforms we need that do NOT take away guns from Americans (which invites ANY government to step in and force you into sheep-hood, if you will). Nobody will be taking American’s guns–that much I can guarantee. So it’s time to go after the problem at its root. Blaming a gun for killing people is like blaming a mirror for you being fat. Isreal, you have bombs blowing up 50 people at a time from suicide bombers–you fix that, first, and then we’ll talk to you about effective public area protection.

    1. Ron Cantor says:

      i agree with all your preventive measures. Why so angry? I was simply explaining what we do to prevent and that the picture was misleading. Neither did I promote taking america’s guns. I was simply saying that using Israel as an example is faulty. The problem with the pro-gun folks (and I am not against pro-gun) is that the slightest disagreement or attempt at dialogue is greeted with an arrogant bravado of “over my dead body”. I am a conservative, capitalist, etc, but I cannot understand why a civilian needs multiple semi-automatic rifles. Feel free to explain it to me. I want to learn… but goodness, don’t be so self-righteous about it.

      1. Kev says:

        Self-righteous? Is that what you call it when an American insists on keeping the constitutional guarantees that were promised to him at the birth of his country–a country that was born from the idea that we will not be ruled and we will defend ourselves reasonably? Well, then, I guess I am, and I’m sorry to say that against your wishes, I’ll continue to be “self-righteous.” Why does an American need “multiple, semi-automatic rifles,” you ask? Think about your own question for a minute, and you won’t need me to answer it. In America, a person is not limited by “need.” In America, we defend ourselves as we see fit. So, if I were to deduce, using your logic, what an American might “need,” would a single, six-shooter be fair? If you ruled our country, what would you have? I think Israel has awesome flight security and they are a very smart people; Israel uses racial profiling, which all cultures should (honestly, if you hear there has been a mass shooting, with few exceptions in the U.S., are you expecting anything except for a young, white, middle-classed male? So wouldn’t we want to focus our searches and preventative efforts there, especially?) That’s a big part of how you keep planes from getting hijacked, and you were using that long before 9-11. I have nothing against Israel, but it’s irresponsible to start pushing controls on a free society when that society is weak from a recent event–it’;s the same tool governments use to control their people. Fear. Let me tell you this; you get armed guards at schools and you still won’t have them at your home, will you? Will they be at campgrounds, playgrounds, circuses, churches, or on bike trails? Will they have posts along the highways with snipers to watch out for highway shooters? The answer is no. The way a people protects itself is by using a force equal to, and a will stonger than, their would-be murderers. Thanks for responding. Yes, we, for the most part, are a little emotional when somebody suggests, directly or otherwise, that taking away our freedoms is the order of the day. Kev

      2. Ron Cantor says:

        And yet, I have not said that your firearms should be taken away and still you respond very emotional as if I did. I merely set the record straight on what we do in Israel. Someone actually called me “a liberal anti Israel reporter with an agenda” … That is funny because I am a prolife, conservative who has never voted for a democrat in his life. That is what I mean by people being way too sensitive. And there are those who say “Let them come and try and take my weapons”… Are these people really prepared to starting shooting police from their porch? Come on. America is great because we get things done through policy and persuasion, not shooting people (see Syria or Hamas).

        But here is a question. Where DO YOU draw the line? Grenades? RPGs? 50 caliber machine guns? Missiles? Obviously, the 2nd Amd could not deal with these issue because their weapons were very primitive in comparison. I have no problem with gun ownership at all. I am pro gun. But there is huge difference between a single woman who buys a pistol for protection and someone owning an Uzi. Wouldn’t you agree? And if the founding fathers could not deal with this, then we must. But whenever anyone seeks to talk about this issue the gun lobby goes crazy as if someone is suggesting that all arms be turned in. THe country is in no danger of that happening. But something needs to be done to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people… like many NFL players who don’t have theme for protection, but to be cool–to be a man. Look at Plexico Burris? or the NBA’s Gilbert Arenas. I am merely saying something must be done. I don’t know what, but something.

      3. Kev says:

        I can agree with most of that. Our laws are made by people coming up with an idea, pushing it toward larger groups of people, making it official for a vote, and then voting on it. Voting. Freedom. There already is a line drawn between firearms that are sufficient for defense and military-grade weapons. When was the last time you saw the headline, “Terrible Assault in Playground Carried Out with .50-Caliber, Truck-Mounted Weapon?”

        We have voted to get to our “norm.” The idea is this; your government can fail you at any moment in time regarding your defense–in your last moments, when the police or military could not save you and a rifle could have, what will you be thinking? It’s in your hands, Invisible Deity? And there’s no reason to be upset that people like me are passionate about this–it is the uniform we put on our thoughts to keep people from even thinking about trying to take nibbles out of our constitution. It’s saying not that you’ll have a tough fight on your hands if you do come after our constitution or any part thereof, but that you’ll have an IMPOSSIBLE fight.

        That’s all the emotion is about.

        When our kids have been slaughtered by a madman, we are going to go after his choice of weapon? What if he had used a Tim McVeigh-style homemade fertilizer bomb? Nobody would be talking about guns (this includes any other gun assault); this guy would have done something just like that if he couldn’t get his hands on weapons, and weapons will never be wiped off of the black market, so people like him will find a way to kill innocents for whatever their motivation is. Think about this; the next logical step in the “competition” that has started among these psychopaths to kill the greatest number of people and now the “most unthinkable” types of people is to see how creatively they can do it. Isn’t that the next logical step? Who can be the most remembered and famous for killing sixteen churches full of people at once with simultaneous explosions from dump-trucks full of horse shit that explode on impact when driven into the church using an impact-ignited fuse? Isn’t he the new hero among their crowd? Now considering that, wouldn’t it have been good if somebody standing at the entrance of one or any of the churches saw the dump-truck plowing into the parking lot, accelerating, breaking through the fences and they shot it’s tires out, at least, making it harder to steer/move and possibly making it miss the church?

        This is where it’s going; it’s going to a competition for the most creative ways to kill large numbers of people that are, in our human minds, the least deserving. That strikes deep, and that’s what they WANT. They know they are going to do, and they are looking for ways to achieve immortality. Look, I’m not here to be right. I’m here to help get it fixed, so let’s work together. Tell me where I’m wrong. Help me spread the good ideas. Let’s just get it fixed together.

      4. Kev says:

        “They know they are going to ‘die'” not “do.” And there are a couple of other grammar errors… I’m tired, so forgive.

      5. Kev says:

        And by the way, I’m center-left and voted for Obama (shocker, huh?). I don’t back ideologies; I back what is right, what is smart, and what is fair.

  9. pkjunction says:


    I’m a practicing catholic, retired U.S. Air Force, and planning on getting my CWP in January. I also agree with everything in your post. I also think that a thorough background check isn’t a bad thing before being able to buy a gun, whether it’s at a gun shop or having to go to a gun shop to get a background check before selling the gun to someone on Craig’s List. If you sell a gun to someone on Craig’s List and that person kills someone else, that serial number is eventually going to come back to you. I also don’t understand why the number of guns someone can own can’t be limited, I was issued one M16 and the wrath that came down on you if it wasn’t constantly under your sole and complete control was truly frightening.

    1. Ron Cantor says:

      well said my friend. what is wrong with a background check?

      1. pkjunction says:

        Thank you for your kind reply. My wife is a school counselor and since nice students aren’t the ones most often sent to, or picked up by, the school counselor I worry about her every day. Ironically Michigan passed a law, on the Friday of the school shootings in Connecticut, so that if you take additional training after getting a Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) you are allowed to carry a pistol into a school. I know this will probably start a comment thread all by itself, but if one of the brave teachers in Newtown that died protecting their students had been waiting with a nice concealable 9mm or .40 from their purse or pocket, the casualty count might have been a lot lower. I don’t want to die but if there is a good chance I can stop someone from killing our young, then I’ll take that chance.

        Paul W. Yocom

        “Life is a journey of thoughtful experiences with occasional frenetic activity and panic to liven up the trip”

      2. Iowa48 says:

        The pusillanimous Republican governor of Michigan just vetoed a bill that would have allowed teachers to carry concealed weapons in the schools.
        “The Republican governor said in a release Tuesday that public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms “if they see fit to do so.”

        Pretty sure the Sandy Hook and Newtown CT school administrators all saw fit to ban firearms in their schools prior to December 14th. Sadly that did not seem to inhibit an evil person, Adam Lanza, from forcing his way into the school with firearms. Legal authority obviously meant absolutely nothing at all to him. A lot of children would be alive today if some teachers at Sandy Hook had been trained and armed and allowed to be the necessary sheepdogs guarding their flock.

        Interesting that a gun store owner near San Antonio TX offered free conceal carry classes to teachers over the Christmas break, and almost immediately had over 400 teachers sign up for those classes. I would feel a whole bunch better if my kids went to school with a teacher who could double as a sheepdog. School administrators need to get out of that head-buried-in-sand mindset that leaves their schools and their schoolkids as attractive soft targets for the cowards like Lanza, who want to slaughter innocents like some suicidal jihadist.

        You can spout all the Constitutional theory you want, but meanwhile our schools are vulnerable gun-free soft targets. I vote we train and arm the teachers, the custodians, the bus drivers, and any parent who would like to volunteer to stand at the door of the school.

      3. pkjunction says:

        I think that if a parent of one of the dead children was asked if they prefer a teacher or administrator at school with a concealed weapon that could defend the children immediately, or the situation they had with calling and waiting, I think they would rather have the concealed weapon at school. The combination of weapons and nut jobs is never going to go away, so it’s better to have the gun and not need it than it is to have 26 innocents dead.

  10. JD says:

    Hi Ron,

    Have a quick question for you. I think you left it a bit open, so if you could clarify, it would be great.

    Are you saying that teachers/school personnel can not carry firearms inside schools? Even the ones who licensed?


    1. JD says:

      P.S.: I’m talking about handguns, not assault rifles or anything like that.

      1. Ron Cantor says:

        I would need to check. But I have never heard of a teacher bringing a weapon in an Israeli school except in the dangerous areas (West Bank and Gaza). There really is no need, as we protect our kids with gates and security professionals outside the school. Also, Israelis carry there guns unconcealed on their belt buckle. I just can see that image in a school. Then again, if you are in a west bank settlement that borders a Arab village with terror ties, everything changes…but I am speaking of the 95% of Israeli that live west of the green line. Thanks for responding!

      2. JD says:

        Hi Ron,

        Thank you for the response.

        According to the source below it appears that the teachers can carry if they choose to AND there armed school guards in every school.

      3. Ron Cantor says:

        My point was that teachers are not armed as a matter of policy. If someone is a licensed gun owner, he or she may or may not be able to bring it with them in the school. I am honestly am not sure. I can tell you that according to the laws, it would be very rare for a female to fulfill the requirements for gun ownership and most teachers are females (except in dangerous areas like the West Bank where it is much easier to get a gun permit). I can also tell you in ten years of living here I have never seen a teacher with a gun. Guns in Israel not concealed, but rather they are carried openly which, by the way, greatly enhances its ability to deter violence. The only female I know with a gun permit leaves in the west bank.

  11. Upset but educated says:

    The right to bear arms if you read anything Jefferson wrote on the subject was not intended for simple personal defense. It was intended to arm the citizens so that the government could never oppress them. The drafters knew that ALL governments by their very nature grow too big and strip unalienable rights from its citizens. Musket vs semiautomatic is an invalid debate. The Government MUST always be afraid of destroying out liberties so that they don’t. Unfortunately the uneducated (constitutionally) don’t understand what Ben Franklin said at all. “When you trade liberty for security, you deserve neither”

    PS last year the NDAA bill authorized the US government to use military force against US citizens and allowed indefinite detainment without trial.

    I’ll keep my guns but agree we need psychological testing to obtain a permit to purchase.

  12. David Hall says:

    I like how the author threw in an aside that he is pretty.

  13. Paul Martin says:


    You are exactly right and when any people like Cantor subtly try to defend “gun control”, he has absolutely no skin in what happened at Newtown. They have no children that died, that could have been saved. The socialist/marxist media ABC,CBS,NBC,CNN and PBS will fine one couple that lost their child that will say they are for gun control or are against having armed school personnel. The couple will say this because that has been their belief all their lives. This same media is heartless because they know the couple is in so much shock, they can’t believe in anything else other than what they have been taught and have believed all their life. These national propaganda machines will show anyone that will promote their anti-protection agenda. But if anyone would seriously take the time and think what they would have wanted for their child’s protection while this evil person was shooting at them, they would want someone shooting back to try to save their child’s life, so the child would be with them now!!! If they don’t believe that, they are evil cowards themselves and do not love their child. That’s the fact of the matter. But my opinion doesn’t matter, but, let me share to all Who’s does.

    God/Jesus says these are the ones that go to hell:

    Revelations Chapter 21, Verse 8

    “But cowards, who turn back from following me, and those who are unfaithful to me, and the corrupt and the murderers and the immoral, and those conversating with demons and idol worshipers and all liars; their doom is in the Lake that burns with fire and sulphur, This is the Second Death.”

    God does not like cowards that will not combat evil.

    Paul Martin

  14. Paul Martin says:

    We don’t even know who you are and who raised you and what your background is or anything about you. I trained in Israel and during the training, in the classroom, on a break, the topic of handguns came up and one of the students asked if they could show. And we said show what? Half of the class opened their briefcases and pulled out their guns. Show and tell. Anyone Israeli citizen can carry. Israeli citizens or military personnel, period. And they are loaded! Over? You either do not know what you are talking or are a liar or both, period. The news media needs to tell this to America, but they never will. I was there and I saw it with my own eyes. It is very peaceful in TelAviv and Jerusalem because of this. And people don’t start fights there without really thinking about it, because most people, including their grandmothers, pack. And that is the fact. Anyone that has been over there feels a lot more safer there then they do here in America. You are a fraud and people need to know that.
    Paul Martin

  15. Paul Martin says:

    People here that say they don’t want a qualified armed and trained teacher or principal, or SOMEONE at the school armed, to protect their children, are in dangerous extreme denial.
    You would not believe that this moment, if your little girl or your boy was dead and in the grave right now, because she or he went to an unprotected Newtown elementary school. These idiot education leaders now saying that schools are the “safest place for a child to be” are living in the 50’s and 60’s! They’re deaf, blind and mute to what is happening right front of their faces.
    Columbine, Newtown, etc.,etc., and a place near you? Just because you don’t believe the evil boogey man not to exist does not mean he isn’t real and deadly. Protect yourself and your loved ones any real effective way you can. Don’t be a fool and a coward.

  16. Blake says:

    So Ron who is telling the teachers they HAVE to carry a gun?

  17. Tzione says:

    Thanks for POSTING the pic.You can puke now.