The call is out and it's resounding! Gun Free Kitchen Tables has issued a first public call for no guards' guns in homes, fed by the urgency and outrage of two new after-duty shootings with guards' guns in Israel.

  • September 9th, Ernesto Mendoza, was shot to death at home, in Eilat, in the presence of his daughters, by his wife, a security guard.
  • November 13th, Almansh Radai was shot and critically injured, at home in Netanya, in front of her three year old daughter, by her security guard husband, who then attempted suicide with the gun, critically injuring himself.

"We don't know who she is, but we know we can save her life"

Extended legal research by Attorney Smadar Ben Natan, Gun Free Kitchen Tables Co-founder, has clarified that the full legal apparatus already exists for implementing the official 2005 recommendation that security companies stop sending home guards with guns. Her expert opinion has established that preventing these foreseeable shootings is already firmly within the authority of the relevant government ministries. And yet, at least seven such shootings have occurred since the recommendation was made in 2005.

Gun Free Kitchen Tables proceeded to observe November 25th, the international day of Struggle against Violence against Women, by demanding and urging that government ministries act within their capacity to prevent these murders and challenging public indifference to proliferating small arms in Israeli civic space:

  • Letters to three government ministers responsible for licensing security guard firms and guns, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Commerce and Industry, called on them to enforce the existing laws and regulations restricting security guards' guns to their work places;
  • Letters to the Chairs and members of three Knesset (parliament) committees: the Women's Status Committee, the Committee of Interior Affairs and the Committee on Immigration and Integration, called for urgent discussions of the danger of guards' after-duty guns, towards instructing executive authorities to implement the 2005 recommendation;
  • A Gun Free Kitchen Tables Facebook page was launched for the occasion of November 25th; in just four days it has already been visited by over 900 viewers. The page (in Hebrew) is at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/hqdh-l-swlhn-hmtbh/160175817353648?ref=mf
  • Four public lectures introduced audiences of several dozens in all to these issues over past months; four more are already scheduled;
  • Media coverage of all the above has also contextualised the shootings, the arms proliferation and the authorities' inaction on these as dangerous and sharply gendered aspects of Israel's militarisation.

The momentum is building. Gun Free Kitchen Tables has successfully launched a relatively un-discussed issue into both public and official agendas, problematising these clearly preventable murders and the dangerous and gendered proliferation of arms in the civic sphere. Three Knesset members have already responded positively; one of them has announced plans to commission up-to-date data collection on the topic by the Knesset research and information centre.

To maintain this momentum and secure these serious issues' new and vital presence on decision makers' agendas, the project needs urgent support. After 4 months of very effective concentrated work it is clear that it is possible to create actual, tangible change. The project coordinators are looking for direct financial support and/or references to potential funders. If you have contacts or suggestions, please contact them at: rel@inter.net.il