Barkat: 'Armed citizens' and 'smart profiling' helping keep Jerusalem safe

"When we have a terror threat, we ask people to carry their guns," Barkat told CNBC's " Squawk Box " during a trip to New York City this week.

December 9, 2015 13:41
1 minute read.
Nir Barkat

Nir Barkat speaks at JPost Diplomatic Conference. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Armed citizens and “smart profiling” are some of the techniques Jerusalem is using to fight the wave of terrorism hitting Israel over the last three months, Mayor Nir Barkat said during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.

“When we have a terror threat, we ask people to carry their guns,” Barkat told CNBC’s morning financial news program Squawk Box, during a trip to New York City this week.

“Usually we’re talking about officers, captains and up, from the Israeli army, which are welltrained [and] very responsible,” he said. “They know how to go to combat.”

The mayor added: “They’re sometimes better trained than the police. There’s no misuse of rifles and guns in Israel. On the contrary, they give extra measures [and] extra security. It’s exactly the opposite, I believe, [of] what is happening in the United States.”

Barkat’s visit comes on the heels of last week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in which Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook killed 14 people.

The Jerusalem mayor added that about 3 percent of Israelis are licensed to carry weapons, lower than the 5 percent of American citizens allowed to obtain concealed weapons permits, he noted.

“Smart profiling” is another tactic Jerusalem employs in helping identify radical elements within the city, Barkat said, adding that members from all major religious sects in Jerusalem are subjected to the same scrutiny.

“You have to differentiate between the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys,” Barkat said, adding, “We will always prefer to save lives,” even if some of the tactics temporarily restrict personal freedoms.

“You must differentiate between those folks and a small percentage of radical Islamic people that are inciting the teenagers,” he said. “There is also some profiling of the radical Jewish population.

“People want to live together in our city. We will not let radical Islam or other radicals deter our way of life,” the mayor said.

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