American Jews arm themselves after increasing anti-Israel demonstrations in the US

"These are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them."

Following the Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis by Hamas terrorists and the spike in antisemitic incidents around the US, an increased number of American Jews are purchasing firearms, taking courses on firearm safety, and going to ranges.

David Kowalsky, who owns the Florida Gun Store in Hollywood, FL told NBC News “We’ve definitely seen a tremendous increase in religious Jewish people, Orthodox people purchasing firearms. I’ve seen a surge in individual training as well as group training.”

Kowalsky and other firearms instructors across the country told the outlet that many have never even handled a firearm and some even previously advocated for gun control.

Kowalsky added, “These are mothers, teachers, the majority of them are mostly people who have never interacted with firearms or thought about owning them. There’s a safety concern. I think people are nervous about what’s going on and what can happen.”

Pre-school teacher Endi Tennenhaus told NBC that she helped organize a firearm safety class for women at her synagogue and that her husband, the rabbi of the congregation, had already organized a men’s group to go to a local shooting range.

The mother of 7 told the outlet that approximately 25 to 30 women attended the introductory class.

Another unidentified 41-year-old Jewish woman in Miami Beach told NBC that even though she is pro-gun control and was never interested in picking up a gun she decided to sign up for a firearm training session after receiving death threats from unknown accounts on Instagram, after posting about being Jewish. She said some of the images were graphic pictures of dead bodies.

Jews across the county are ramping up safety efforts. Rabbi Yossi Eilfort in Los Angeles, California told the outlet that his nonprofit which provides firearm training to the Jewish community has received over 600 calls in the past week.

Chicago police officer Danniel Lombard operates the firearm training company DAVAD Civilian Defense and has seen a massive spike in interest from the local Jewish community, and will be adding more classes to meet the demand.

David Prince, who operates the Eagle Gun Range in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, said demand has jumped 300 percent since the Hamas attacks.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, there have been 107 recorded antisemitic incidents across the country, and in the first 18 hours after Hamas’ surprise attack there was a 488 percent increase in threats against Jews, Israelis and Zionists on Telegram.

Last week, newly released FBI statistics showed that once again anti-Jewish incidents were the most common religion-related hate crime.

President Joe Biden said in a statement addressing the FBI’s numbers, “Today, the FBI released their annual statistics on hate crimes. Antisemitic hate crimes rose 25 percent from 2021 to 2022, and Antisemitism accounted for over half of all reported religion-based hate crimes.
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