As Bluestem noted in That awkward moment when we discover Tony Cornish's ignorance about Israeli school security, the real story behind the highly militarized Middle Eastern nation's policies aren't as simple as Representative Cornish suggested when he proposed arming Minnesota's school teachers.
Apparently, Israelis aren't happy being dragged into America's gun control debate, either. In Israelis shoot down NRA's claim that the Jewish State uses more weapons to keep schools safe, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday:
When it comes to Israel and school shootings, Wayne LaPierre doesn’t know what he’s talking about, Israeli security experts said Sunday.
Such shootings are very rare in Israel and have been associated with terror attacks, not crazed gunmen, they said.
...Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said the situation in Israel was “fundamentally different” from that in the United States.
“We didn’t have a series of school shootings, and they had nothing to do with the issue at hand in the United States. We had to deal with terrorism,” said Palmor.
“What removed the danger was not the armed guards but an overall anti-terror policy and anti-terror operations which brought street terrorism down to nearly zero over a number of years,” he said. “It would be better not to drag Israel into what is an internal American discussion,” he added.
“There is no comparison between maniacs with psychological problems opening fire at random to kill innocent people and trained terrorists trying to murder Israeli children,” said Reuven Berko, a retired Israeli Army colonel and senior police officer.
Cornish wasn't the only gun-rights advocate in Minnesota to evoke a mythic Israeli experience. Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance issued a press release that cited one version of the nation's history:
. . .[GOCRA President Joseph E.] Olson pointed out that the State of Israel faced a similar school violence threat after PLO terrorists targeted schoolchildren in the Ma’alot massacre 1974, killing 25 . The Israeli government started encouraging reservists keep their guns at home and carry them on the streets. Teachers armed themselves, and volunteer parents and grandparents in plain clothing patrolled the schools and accompanied every field trip. Israel went more than a quarter century with no further school attacks.
The worst attack on an Israeli school was in 1974, when terrorists from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine took 115 people hostage in a school in Maalot in northern Israel. Twenty-five people were killed as Israeli commandos stormed the building, 22 of them children.
“The attempt to compare the two tragedies is absurd,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University. “Palestinian terror attacks like one one at Maalot — the goal of which was to use the children as hostages in order to free other terrorists — are totally different from crimes committed by deranged people with guns.”
As some observers have pointed out, both Columbine and Fort Hood were protected by armed law enforcement personnel. Their presence didn't deter the shooters from opening fire. Ironically, the deputy stationed at Columbine says armed guards at schools coupled with assault weapons ban would keep students safe the New York Daily News reports.
An added kicker: a [l]ittle-known Minnesota exemption allows guns in schools, the Star Tribune reported on December 20. Would the solution be more guns? Or an Israeli-style maximum security state with strict gun laws? Or fewer guns, more carefully regulated?
Photo: A security guard in the Ankeny, Iowa, school system. Six guards patrol the schools; three are armed. The guards are employed by Per Mar Security Services. The school transitioned from police offices to the private company in 2011.
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