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Firearms training firm sees huge spike in Jewish students taking 'active shooter' response classes

The Cherev Gidon Israeli Tactical Defense Academy in Pennsylvania has seen a spike in the enrollment of Jewish students following the Oct. 27 attack at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A private American company offering "Israeli tactical shooting techniques" says it has been inundated with a surge of calls from Jewish citizens seeking firearms training following last week's attack at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue.

What are the details?

On Oct. 27, a suspect murdered 11 worshippers and injured several others after entering the synagogue and reportedly yelling, "All Jews must die."

Following the attack, President Donald Trump suggested that if an armed guard had been present to protect the synagogue, "maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for [the suspect] maybe."

According to Yonatan Stern, the founder of Cherev Gidon Israeli Tactical Training Academy, many Jewish citizens agree that they need to be able to defend themselves. Stern told France 24 that his firm has received more course sign-up requests from Jews in the days since the mass murder at Tree of Life, than it has in the entire time the academy opened six years ago.

Stern said hundreds of people have called to enroll in courses since the attack.

"There is no question that Jews are under threat in America. Would you say to soldiers on the front line, 'just lay down your guns and let the enemy kill you?' No. So Jews need to be armed," Stern said.

Since the attack in Pittsburgh — which was the deadliest attack on Jews in American history — Stern has designed a course specifically focused on how to respond to an active shooter in a synagogue. Cherev Gidon offers classes in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Anything else?

Americans are divided on whether such attacks could be prevented or minimized if places of worship were guarded with armed protection.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto told NBC News, "I don't think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards or our schools filled with armed guards."

"We should try to stop irrational behavior from happening at the forefront, and not try to create laws around irrational behavior to continue," he added.

A spokesman for the Second Amendment advocacy group, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, disagrees. Alan Korwin defended President Trump's comments on how an armed guard could have stopped the tragedy at Tree of Life.

"[Trump] is making an observation," Korwin told The Daily Caller. "He's not blaming anybody. He's making a statement of fact. And, in fact, it's true. When there are armed people — when there's an attack, the murderer gets shot."

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