הנשים והאנשים שהתגייסו למשמר האזרחי
Civilians who enrolled in the civilian guard campaign
Photo: Nachum Segal
Civilians who enrolled in the civilian guard campaign

Thousands of Israelis join civil defense amid terror wave

As security forces continue to battle terror wave, Israeli Police and Defense Ministry launch 'Home Guard' campaign, training civilians to participate in armed patrols in their hometowns and be first responders in case of attacks

Meir Turgeman |
Published: 05.18.22, 13:26
Amid an ongoing terror wave, thousands of Israelis have signing up to volunteer in the new civil defense established by the Israel Police and the Defense Ministry.
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  • Some 4,000 civilians who have signed up so far, will undergo a short training period, following which they would be assigned to patrol the streets of their residential areas, armed with weapons.
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    הנשים והאנשים שהתגייסו למשמר האזרחי
    הנשים והאנשים שהתגייסו למשמר האזרחי
    Civilians who enrolled in the civilian guard campaign
    (Photo: Nachum Segal)
    Yael Lahav, one of the volunteers, is a 44-year-old mother of three from the northern city Kiryat Motzkin.
    Last Friday, Yael and 27 other volunteers completed the last of the project's seven training sessions, qualifying them to carry arms while on duty.
    "I'm counting down the minutes until I can put on the vest, sign on a weapon and go on patrol in the streets of my city," she said.
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    יעל יהב
    יעל יהב
    Yael Lahav
    (Photo: Nachum Segal)
    Yael said that she enrolled in the campaign one day after hearing of it because she had grown afraid for her security amid the terror wave. "It was scary to wander the streets," she said. "I was worried for the children."
    Adam Hakim, a 33-year-old from Tel Aviv, had also recently completed his training. Hakim is a doctor who specializes in neuroscience, and a new father to a four-month-old girl. He claims that taking part in the civil guard could give him a feeling of security to deal with potential terror attacks in future.
    "Like many civilians, I had no qualifications, but the course gave me basic tools that would allow me to respond in the case of a terror attack," he said.
    He also admitted that he does not think volunteering is cause for praise. "I'm protecting my family, friends, and surroundings," he said. "It is the most basic and necessary thing to do as an Israeli civilian."
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    ד"ר אדם חכים
    ד"ר אדם חכים
    Dr. Adam Hakim
    (Photo: Courtesy of Adam Hakim)
    While participants are asked to devote a minimum or four hours each week, most sign up for more.
    The new volunteers who enrolled since the public campaign was launched six weeks ago, make up 26% of the civil defense, which has a total of 24,000 people registered.
    Most of the volunteers are assigned to help the Border Police and forces enforcing traffic laws.
    The volunteers are made up of 85% men and 15% women, and while 77% are Jewish, 12% are Muslims. The Jewish volunteers say they want to be first responders in case of an attack, and the Muslims are mostly concerned for their safety in the face of increasing criminal violence across the Arab communities.
    4 View gallery
    הנשים שהתגייסו למשמר האזרחי
    הנשים שהתגייסו למשמר האזרחי
    Women volunteers in 'Home Guard' campaign
    (Photo: Nachum Segal)
    Security officials expressed their gratitude for the collective effort of civilians.
    "The Israel Police is small for the scope of its tasks and there was a dire need to incorporate civilians especially to deal with the terror wave," an official said.
    "It is moving to discover that thousands of civilians responded to our campaign and came forward asking to volunteer and put into action the slogan we chose - 'Home Guard', it is as simple as it sounds," he said.
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