Matti Friedman: Why I Got a Gun

Matti Friedman: Why I Got a Gun

My Glock is an ugly little monument to the historic threat facing my family, my neighbors, and all of Israel.

JERUSALEM — I was recently at an indoor shooting range in Jerusalem watching new gun-license applicants blast paper targets with mixed success—ordinary people, some rotund guys of early middle age, a man in his 60s with the air of a Talmud professor, a young mother who’d been evacuated from the southern town of Sderot after Hamas terrorists killed dozens of her neighbors on October 7, now living in a cramped hotel room in our city with her husband and two kids. 

She fired her rounds with particular intensity, or so it seemed to me, though of course even she couldn’t turn back the clock to October 6. When the instructor was done with her, it was my turn. 

The counter at the entrance was swarmed three customers deep—the staff have never seen anything like the last six months. One salesman was explaining the advantages of the Israeli Masada pistol, named, unfortunately, for the site of the mass Jewish suicide that ended our previous stretch of sovereignty here in 73 CE. A religious woman in a skirt, her hair covered with a scarf, was trying out a stomach holster that could be concealed under her shirt—she’s a kindergarten teacher and doesn’t want to frighten the children. 

The traditional Israeli attitude to guns is often misunderstood, particularly by observers peering through an American lens. Guns are visible everywhere here, and many visitors, startled by the sight of heavily armed young men and young women in uniform carrying M-16s on the bus or at the bar, assume an enthusiasm for weapons and a free approach to acquiring them.

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None.  Jews face hate on all sides of every aisle.  Our plight transcends politics.


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