"It's my duty to maintain my shooting skills, so I'll be ready for any situation."


A right-wing Israeli lawmaker on Thursday hit the shooting range to perform what she called her national "duty" of staying prepared for the next terrorist attack. 


Sharren Haskel, 34, a member of the ruling Likud party, is the first female member of the Israeli Knesset to have served as a combat soldier during her mandatory military service. She still carries a firearm and was at the range for her annual training as ​required by Israeli law. 

"I make sure to improve my marksmanship at the range every year," Haskel said in a social media post that included footage of her outing. "Since my service as a combat soldier and commander in the Border Police and a level 07-Rifleman basic training, I carry a personal firearm. It's my duty to maintain my shooting skills, so I'll be ready for any situation. That’s how every gun-carrying citizen should act."

Haskel, who was born in Canada and worked as a veterinarian in Australia before getting into politics, noted that during the "​lone wolf intifada" of 2015 and 2016 -- which saw a wave of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, mostly in Jerusalem and the West Bank -- armed citizens neutralized a number of the attackers.


According to Israel Police data, citizens were the first responders in 60 percent of the attacks in Jerusalem. Among them was Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat


In a follow-up tweet, Haskel showed off her handiwork. But, she noted, "There's still room to improve."

Haskel made no mention of the deadly shooting that killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. Nor did she immediately respond to an interview request. But a day after the tragedy, she tweeted her "condolences to the families of the victims."

Like Israel's government in general -- and in contrast with liberal American Jews -- Haskel also praised President Donald Trump's response. She tweeted a clip of a speech in which she said he had "delivered" a clear message that condemns & call[s] to fight racism and any form" of anti-Semitism. 


Consistent with his ​response to school shootings, Trump had earlier told reporters that lives could have been saved if the synagogue had been protected by armed guards. Gun control ​advocates have decried the proposed policy. But some formerly skeptical American Jews have ​come around since the Pittsburgh shooting. 


Haskel has been a vocal, global advocate of Israel's right to defend itself, as well as of civil liberties and market freedom. The Israel Freedom Movement has ​regularly given her its highest marks. 


However, ​contrary to the claims of some conservatives, gun laws are much stricter in Israel than in the United States, and its ​gun ​culture is ​very different


Cover image: Knesset member Sharren Haskel. (Wikimedia Commons)/ Sharren Haskel practicing at a firing range in Israel on Nov. 1, 2018. (Screenshot from Twitter)