In the middle of an Arab terror wave centered around Jerusalem’s Old City, a 55-year-old female Jewish resident of the restive area has had her license to carry a handgun removed by the Internal Security Ministry.
The reason given for removing her means of self-defense? According to the ministry, police claim she “prayed on the Temple Mount,” the holiest site in Judaism.
The woman, Feiga Tavnes, has lived in the Old City for the past 35 years. For all of those 35 years she has held a license to carry a firearm and owned a personal handgun, and in all those years she has never been investigated or run afoul of the law.
However, specifically now as Arab terror attacks have ramped up in the area around her home, she was ordered to hand over her gun.
The reason given in the letter asking her to do so was simply “a recommendation of the Israel police for…praying on the Temple Mount, and therefore due to the danger it is recommended to cancel her license.”
Making the incident all the more surprising is the fact that Tavnes has never been investigated by the police for praying on the Temple Mount, which even if she had been would not constitute a legal grounds to remove her gun license.
The Jordanian Waqf has been left in de facto control of the Mount, where it has banned Jewish prayer despite Israeli laws and court rulings stipulating freedom of worship.
Adding to the seriousness of the move to negate her license is the fact that Tavnes’s husband previously was stabbed by an Arab terrorist right by their house. The move also comes after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on all license-holding Jerusalemites to carry their weapons at all times.
“Abandonment of Jews”
Attorney Adi Kedar of the Honenu legal aid organization submitted an urgent petition last week to the Internal Security Ministry, demanding that the decision be overturned and Tavnes’s weapon be returned.
“The recommendation of the Israel police lacks any basis and is mistaken,” wrote Kedar, demanding that he be immediately given the details of the police source that recommended canceling the woman’s gun license so as to sue them for harassment.
“My client was not investigated for prayer on the Temple Mount, and even if there was a suspicion of that, that is not a suspicion at all connected to her gun license,” noted the attorney.
“This shocking case of abandoning Jews in such a difficult period is just the tip of the iceberg, and reveals the continued management of the Israel police and the Internal Security Ministry in my cases over recent years, in which the weapons licenses of residents of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem residents was revoked.”
“In similar cases petitions were submitted to the court and the petitions were accepted, but the time dealing with the case and the bureaucracy leaves the civilians for an extended period – sometimes even over a year – without a weapon, posing a danger to them and to their family members,” said Kedar.
The attorney added, “we must remember that we are dealing with civilian residents of Judea and Samaria of neighborhoods in Jerusalem, who unfortunately are exposed to daily terror attacks.
I call on the prime minister and the appointed minister to re-examine the entire management of the Internal Security Ministry in terms of weapons licenses. I hope that until then lives will not be endangered G-d forbid due to this management.”