Burglars shot by elderly homeowner sparking gun control debate in Israel

An 82-year-old Holocaust survivor in Beit Yitzhak, near Netanya, shot two suspected burglars who entered his home on Monday night, killing one.

The incident sparked criticism of the police for not doing enough to combat burglaries, and calls for loosened gun restrictions from one Knesset member.

The suspects, ages 30 and 34, are from Tulkarm, not far from Beit Yitzhak in the Palestinian Authority. “An initial investigation by police officers revealed that a homeowner on Sadot Road in Moshav Beit Yitzhak heard noises in his house. When he entered the room, he noticed two suspects with burglary tools in their hands,” police said on Monday night. “The owner of the house fired at them. One person was killed and the other was evacuated to the hospital in moderate condition.”

Following the incident on Monday, there was an outpouring of criticism of the police.

Residents told Channel 2 that burglary is a daily phenomenon and that they feel like it is the “Wild West.”

Rami Bello, chairman of the town’s infrastructure committee, said that Beit Yitzhak is “a burglar’s paradise.”

“Our moshav is very large, and in the agricultural areas there are burglars who watch the houses and break into them every day,” Bello said in an interview with Radio 103 FM on Tuesday.

Police say, however, that they have dedicated large forces to dealing with the burglary problem and have seen a dramatic drop in property crime in the last year. In March the police arrested 15 people on suspicion of burglary in the Tel Aviv District. “In recent months we have seen sophisticated actions that have brought the arrests of hundreds of actors in criminal networks throughout Israel,” Police Commissioner Insp.- Gen. Roni Alsheich said in March after the arrests. “Many citizens in Israel will sleep with confidence and conduct their business as usual without fear, thanks to this extensive activity.”

Meanwhile residents voiced support for the actions of the elderly homeowner. One told Channel 2 that “maybe now the burglars in the area will be afraid.”

Likud MK Amir Ohana said the shooter “deserved a medal” for “returning security to his family, home and community.”

Ohana said he seeking to design a policy to increase access to firearms.

While firearms are frequently visible in public in Israel, being carried by soldiers and police officers, the country has strict gun control regulations for civilians. Those seeking a gun must pass background checks and mental and physical exams, and must have a security reason for needing a firearm.

Source: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Burglars-shot-by-elderly-homeowner-sparking-gun-control-debate-in-Israel-499401