Israel would on Tuesday begin distributing thousands of assault rifles to volunteer first-response teams in border communities and mixed Jewish-Arab towns, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said in a social media post.
He said 4,000 Israeli-made rifles would be given out in the first round, with at least another 6,000 to follow. Volunteers would also eventually be equipped with helmets and flak jackets, he added.
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Ben-Gvir’s announcement came as Israel reeled from armed cross-border infiltrations by Palestinians from Gaza and eyed possible internal friction between Israel's majority Jews and 20 percent Arab minority, many of whom identify with the Palestinians.