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Amid terror wave, police urge Israelis to carry arms on Yom Kippur holiday

Jews pray at the entrance to the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old city, during Tisha B'Av, July 27, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The spokesperson for Israel Police, commander Eli Levi, instructed armed Israelis on Tuesday to carry weapons on Yom Kippur – the Jewish holiday also known as the Day of Atonement – to protect themselves against terrorist attacks.

Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, have seen a wave of frequent terror attacks in recent months. In addition, violent crime has soared in Israel, especially in Arab population centers.

Levi reported that Israel Police have been receiving “dozens of terrorist alerts” in recent days leading up to Yom Kippur, which begins on Sunday evening.

“Now, a few days before Yom Kippur and during the holiday season, there are dozens of alerts. Alongside the escalating incitement to terror on social media, this has led the Israel Police to deploy thousands of officers, Border Police, and volunteers,” Levi stated in a press release.

Although the police spokesperson assured Israelis that authorities are doing all they can to prevent terror attacks, he also urged citizens who carry arms to participate in preserving the safety of Israeli citizens by carrying their weapons with them during the holiday, including to the synagogue, and to ensure that they know how to use them.

“Today, we reiterate the call of the Chief of Police and the Head of Operations and call on the public to carry weapons and be trained in their use when necessary, to bear their weapons during these days, even in places of prayer and family entertainment,” he said.

Levi also stressed the importance of reporting any and all “unusual” activities and warned against aiding Palestinians to cross the border illegally.

“Most importantly, promptly report any unusual event that you find yourself involved in or exposed to and any publications that raise concerns about incitement to terror and violence on social networks,” Levi concluded.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid Israeli blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the request to carry arms on Yom Kippur.

“[Netanyahu] has lost control of his ministers. Everyone is conducting their own policy,” Lapid said.

“To call on citizens to come to the synagogue on Yom Kippur armed is not a security policy but dangerous populism, acting against the Shin Bet's position – chaos,” Lapid tweeted on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

“Instead of running away from the troubles to California, Netanyahu should rein in his irresponsible ministers and work to calm the situation,” Lapid continued, referring to the prime minister's trip this week to the United States.

Since the beginning of 2023, 35 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terrorism in Israel, compared to 31 people killed during the entirety of 2022. This bleak statistic makes the current terror wave the worst of its kind since the Second Intifada between 2000-2005, which saw more than 1,000 Israelis killed by Palestinians.

Netanyahu will be returning from his trip to California and the U.S. on Friday. His official visit included a meeting with business magnate Elon Musk to discuss cooperation in artificial intelligence, Israel's judicial reform, antisemitism and free speech.

The prime minister then flew to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly and participate in meetings with top leaders, including a long-anticipated meet-up with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the gathering.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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