The answer is no…Israeli teachers are not armed! But guns are a very common sight in Israel, especially among police and military personnel who are everywhere! But you will also see civilians walking the streets with guns tucked in their waistbands or holsters.
Interestingly, in a country known for terrorist attacks, school gun violence is very rare. Furthermore, every 18-year-old serves at least 2-3 years in the military, where they are taught to handle guns. Not every Israeli carries a weapon, but “gun presence” is definitely more prevalent than in the US and most other places.
So, with all those guns, why is gun violence so much less prevalent in Israeli schools than in the US? Here’s what one reporter found out:
Might we learn a few things from those who are arguably the best in the world when it comes to containing violence? My point is not to be “political,” but to throw out some thoughts that may or may not fit within our political preferences.
For the most part, guns are handled wisely and properly in Israel. I believe one reason is because of the disciplined military service each young adult goes through. They are given significant responsibility, including how to handle a weapon, at a young age. While 18-year-old soldiers (both male and female) with automatic weapons slung over their shoulders are a common sight in Israel, I can’t imagine turning most American 18-year-olds loose with guns!
The point: those who carry guns in Israel are not only highly trained, but are held to strict expectations of responsibility. Seems like a good idea to me!
Likewise, everyone in Israel who carries a gun must show themselves capable of handling a gun (physically), must pass a background check, and endure a mental evaluation before they can legally carry a weapon. If a person wants to drive a vehicle, they must meet appropriate requirments. Why not with guns? Sounds logical to me!
In Israel, one cannot simply walk into a gun store and walk out with a purchase. If a person is enraged and wanting to “do something about it,” they are forced to wait out a cooling off period while the appropriate background check, etc is done. If a person “needs a gun right this moment,” it makes me wonder for what purpose!
In Israel, armed guards man the entrances of schools. While I fully appreciate “Resource Officers” who serve in our schools, would it be worth it to train armed guards to literally stand in the entrance “profiling” would-be punks with guns? Fine, let the Resource Officers be “good cops,” making friends and relating to the kids. But let the guard be the guard!
Here is where Israel really has a leg up on the US when it comes to violence of any kind. Plain and simple: they don’t put up with it! Armed police and military are everywhere and they respond immediately. When the “bad guy” is confronted, he is a dead man unless he heeds their commands immediately. In other words, the bad guys know that a violent encounter will almost certainly cost them their life. They will likely not be walked away in handcuffs to plead “insanity” before a judge. Not saying right or wrong…just saying that is a deterrent in Israel. If we ceased to allow insanity pleas for those who plot massacres, enforcement of the law would probably work here as well!
So, I suppose those of us who are sick of seeing school kids used for target practice should consider moving to Israel…where guns are prevalent, and kids are safe in school!
But kidding aside…there is a much deeper root to this problem. Yes, there are things we could do to better contain gun violence, but the matter of values undergirds the entire issue. When we teach kids they are nothing more than evolved animals, that they have no God-given value and that life on this earth is all there is, we reap a harvest of kids who see no meaning to life. Thus, instead of living life, they engage in “virtual reality” such as violent video games, where they shoot and maim fictitious characters. They do not know how to physically play or socialize. If people have no value and life has no meaning, why not make one gigantic video game of it!
In his second letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul warned what people would become in the last days if they failed to hold on to true godliness:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.
~2 Timothy 3:1-5
Indeed, these are the times in which we live. Israel is not the perfect place and gun violence is not the only evil in the world. But we certainly see these characteristics playing out as we watch our children become target practice for such people.