When Nir Menahem, the director of the Adirim security company, took the test to renew his license to bear arms as part of his work, he was astonished at the invasive questions he was forced to answer.
According to a report Wednesday on the news site Ynet, the application for a license to carry a gun as a security guard, which is written in Hebrew in the masculine, includes questions apparently geared exclusively toward heterosexual men such as “At what age did you lose your virginity?” “How many women did you have sex with before marriage?” “How many serious girlfriends did you have before marriage?” and “Have you ever cheated on your wife?”
These and other prying queries, of a total of 617 questions on the application, have angered job and license applicants, prompting Menahem to write a letter of protest to the Public Security Ministry on his own and his workers’ behalf.
“When I was being tested, a 50-year-old new immigrant from the Caucasus sat near me,” he told Ynet. “He spoke Hebrew but couldn’t read it, so they brought in a 40-year-old woman as interpreter. She started asking him whether he had ever cheated on his wife and whether he had one-night stands. That’s bizarre! I felt ashamed for him. What do one-night stands or losing your virginity at 18 have to do with being fit to carry a gun? If a man cheats on his wife, that’s their business, not that of the Public Security Ministry.”
Public Security Ministry officials said the reason for the inquiries into applicants’ private lives is a spate of murders that took place in Israel roughly two years ago, in which off-duty security guards murdered their partners with the weapons they carried on the job.
While Menahem does not believe the nosy questions are going to solve the problem, a ministry spokesman said that the questions were developed by a professional committee that included senior psychologists.
The test was launched in February, and members of the security forces, such as soldiers, career soldiers and police officers, have been exempted from taking it, the report said.
Haaretz noted in early 2013 that as of that time, 28 women had been murdered in their homes with weapons belonging to off-duty security guards.
An initiative of the Isha L’Isha (Woman to Woman) feminist center in Haifa called Gun Free Kitchen Tables seeks to address the issue by enforcing a 2008 amendment to the Firearms Act that limits the bearing of arms to the security guard’s place of work.