Guns, helmets and body armor to be distributed to hundreds of residents of border regions, mixed Jewish-Arab cities, West Bank settlements
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir announced on Tuesday that his ministry is purchasing 10,000 rifles to arm civilian security teams, specifically those in towns close to Israel’s borders around the country, as well as mixed Jewish-Arab cities and West Bank settlements.
The minister, who heads the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, said 4,000 assault rifles had already been acquired from an Israeli manufacturer and will be distributed immediately.
Helmets and bulletproof vests have also been acquired and will be distributed along with the assault rifles.
The step comes after some civilian security teams reported they had no weapons to fight off Hamas terrorists during Saturday’s devastating assault on southern Israel.
In a statement to the press on Tuesday, Ben Gvir said the new weapons and equipment will be distributed to “hundreds of towns” that have civilian security teams, some of which are manned by civilians who also volunteer in the Border Police, the Israel Police’s gendarmerie unit.
In addition, new civilian security teams will be established in towns that currently lack them, the national security ministry said.
“We will turn the world upside down so that towns are protected. I have given instructions for massively arming the civilian security teams to provide solutions for towns and cities, and so as not to leave towns unprotected, preparations will be made for a Guardian of the Walls 2,” said Ben Gvir, in reference to the May 2021 conflict with Hamas, which was accompanied by severe inter-communal violence in Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities.
When Israel’s Jewish-Arab cities were the scene of intense riots during the May 2021 conflict with Hamas, Ben Gvir, at the time an MK but not a minister, urged armed Israeli civilians to go to such cities to combat Arab rioters.