Rabbi Menachem Margolin has urged Europe to allow special permits for Jewish people to carry guns. He says Jews should be allowed to carry firearms for self-defense “amid rising anti-Semitism on the continent” following on from Paris terror attacks.
In his letter to European ministers, Rabbi Margolin wrote:
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“We hereby ask that gun licensing laws are reviewed with immediate effect to allow designated people in the Jewish communities and institutions to own weapons for the essential protection of their communities, as well as receiving the necessary training to protect their members from potential terror attacks.”
In a statement to Newsweek, which obtained a copy of the letter, Rabbi Margolin added that he believes that “as many people within the Jewish community as possible” should carry weapons.
His call, he says, is a result of the clear failure of European governments to protect their Jewish communities.
French Jews have been particularly targeted by Islamist violence. In 2012 Al Qaeda-linked terrorist Mohammed Mera murdered three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse; that, along with several other anti-Semitic murders – including that of Ilan Halimi, who was kidnapped and tortured to death by a Muslim gang – has left France’s Jews feeling utterly abandoned by their government.
“Right now Jews do not feel safe… We are threatened on a daily basis,” he added. “People are afraid to come to synagogue. People are afraid to go to Jewish schools.”
“[The police] are not doing enough, for sure. We just need more. The best solution is having at least two police officers at each Jewish institution, 24 hours a day. Until that happens we need to be able to feel secure in other ways.”
France has taken steps following the attacks to secure Jewish institutions, deploying some 5,000 security force personnel to protect Jewish schools from attack. But many French Jews fear it may not be enough to protect them in their day-to-day lives.