(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A horrific murder occurred in Netanya on Sunday. A policeman is suspected of murdering his thirty-year-old wife in the presence of their three young children (two from his wife's previous marriage). The policeman then called the police and said, "I murdered her." His own colleagues had to arrest him for the suspected murder.
Sunday's murder followed closely on the heels of another murder of a Netanya woman only last week, when Aliza Shpak was murdered by her ex-husband.
The "Gun on the Kitchen Table" coalition, a group of 15 organizations that oppose the use of weapons in the public sphere, said on Sunday, "Another woman was murdered tonight, only a few days after the tragic death of Aliza Shpak, of blessed memory."
"This murder proves what we have been claiming for a long time - more weapons in the civilian sphere are a real danger to the lives of innocent people, and of women in particular."
"We call on the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Security, the Minister of Welfare and the Police Commissioner to immediately take responsibility and stop the expansion of the weapons test, which has already increased the number of weapons in civilian areas, and act to prevent the next murder. The time has come that women's personal security and women's lives will also determine the policy of this government."
The coalition is currently taking legal action against Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan's decision to expand the weapons test. At the beginning of September, the coalition had submitted a letter to Erdan to exhaust the proceedings prior to a petition to the High Court of Justice against his decision to expand the weapons test and ease the criteria for obtaining a license to carry weapons. Currently, since the letter has not received a response, the coalition is proceeding with a petition to the High Court.
The new criteria for obtaining a gun license makes hundreds of thousands of IDF infantry unit veterans eligible to receive firearms licenses. In addition, officers and commanders will not be required to return their arms and weapons after they are released from reserve duty.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan argued that the policy will save lives by increasing the number of trained gun owners who know how to operate in situations such as terrorist attacks.
Committee chair MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) appealed to Erdan to freeze the approval of the reform, to expand the number of parties sitting in the supervision and control committee set up by the ministry for the reform, and to wait until the recommendations of the committee.
Last month Erdan established a committee to supervise the procedures for obtaining or renewing gun licenses. The committee will review all the requirements of license applicants, as well as the information they are required to present to licensing officials and the process of conducting personal interviews with applicants. The committee will also examine ways to strengthen the supervision and control of weapons, such as requiring that gun owners install gun safes. The committee is expected to present its recommendations within three months.
But according to Salkind, the committee has “simply yielded to most of the demands of the arms lobby” and is barely tightening the requirements.
“The government is privatizing its duty to protect its citizens, and the privilege of self-defense is apparently reserved for only a part of the public. This reform will provide an opening for another tens of thousands more weapons in the civilian sphere,” Touma-Sliman said.
The head of the Firearm Licensing Department of the Public Security Ministry, Herzl Kavalo, said there has been a serious upgrade of the entire process.
“WE HAVE not only expanded the approvals for license but also the training. There is an exam at the end of the training for receiving a weapon, which is conducted by certified firearms instructors. Women, too, are coming to these tests more and more. These are not weapons for the rich, because every person is entitled to defend themselves,” Kavalo said. He noted that applicants must be checked by both the police and by medical officials.
A police representative added that the police have the authority to immediately seize weapons from anyone who commits an offense. “Weapons do not continue to be carried around by people who have committed crimes,” the representative said.Tamara Zieve contributed to this report