There is a trend among Religious Right activists to cheer on Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian territories while conveniently ignoring other Israeli programs, such as government subsidies for abortion coverage.
But on his radio show “Washington Watch” yesterday, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins went all in to praise an Israeli domestic policy that is at odds with what American conservatives are pushing at home, hailing Israeli gun laws and saying that Israeli cities are much safer than their American counterparts.
Back in 2012, the Washington Post attempted to clear up American conservatives’ “long-held misunderstanding of Israeli gun laws.”
The only problem is that Israel actually has quite strong gun restrictions and very low gun ownership rates, some of the lowest in the developed world. This confusion has gotten so bad that even Israeli government officials are now chiming in to knock back the claims, though the NRA is seen as a close ally of the U.S. Republican party, which positions itself as strongly backing Israel.
Israeli guns laws, it turns out, are much stricter than America’s gun laws. This may help explain why Israeli gun ownership is just one thirteenth of what it is in the U.S. To bring that number into focus, it would likely be even lower if not for mandatory military service, which means Israelis are more likely to be familiar with guns. Israel’s unique security challenges and its periodic bouts with terrorism would also seem to bolster an NRA-style case for allowing more privately owned guns so that more citizens can defend themselves. And yet, there are far fewer guns in private citizens’ hands, and far less gun crime.