(February 9, 2023 / JNS) The chief rabbi of the Israel Police penned an open letter on Tuesday to rabbis throughout Israel urging them to advise congregants to carry firearms on Shabbat, Arutz 7 reported.
In his letter, Rabbi Rami Brachyahu said the measure was necessary following the Jan. 27 Palestinian terrorist attack that killed seven people at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood.
History has proven that religious neighborhoods and synagogues were a target for terrorists, wrote Brachyahu, according to the report.
“In deliberation with prominent rabbis and on the recommendation of relevant police authorities, I appeal to the rabbis of Israel to instruct their communities that everyone who has a license to carry a firearm should carry that firearm with them on Shabbat, especially during prayer times in the synagogues,” he said.
He also said that synagogues should maintain the ability to call authorities at any time in the event of an emergency.
“It is appropriate that every synagogue have a kosher cell phone [on the premises] that can be used to call the police if, God forbid, an emergency occurs. Halachically, in any event of concern for ‘risk to life,’ the police must be called, even on Shabbat,” he said.
Jewish law, or halacha, generally prohibits the use of electronic devices on the Jewish day of rest, which occurs weekly from sundown on Friday to sundown of Saturday.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir vowed on Tuesday to push through a fivefold increase in weapon permits in the wake of last month’s deadly attack.
Ben-Gvir has directed the Firearms Licensing Department to increase the number of new permits issued from roughly 2,000 to 10,000 per month, according to a statement from his Otzma Yehudit Party.
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