Via The Times of Israel:

Israel, a country that often appears to be inundated with weapons, actually extends very few gun permits to civilians — only 2.5 percent of the population can legally carry a firearm. But those who are licensed to carry a weapon have proved capable of acting swiftly and effectively time and again to neutralize attackers during acts of terrorism.

“In 40-50 cases over the past 10 years, armed Israeli citizens have intervened during terror attacks,” said Dr. Shlomo Shpiro, a senior research fellow at Bar-Ilan University’s BESA Center and the author of a forthcoming paper on the armed Israeli civilian’s role in foiling terror attacks.

“In 70 percent of those cases, their intervention was crucial,” he said….

The two critical factors explaining Israeli civilians’ relatively effective responses, he argues, are training and an embedded, perhaps biblical and religious sense of responsibility for one another.

The training begins with the military, where combat soldiers are taught from day one to charge the enemy. The army’s psychological screening tests are also used to determine who may carry a weapon post-army, as a civilian.

All licensed gun owners undergo mandatory training, which Shpiro said makes citizens more likely to respond in the event of an attack.

But the real reason that civilians banish the human instinct to flee in the face of terror, he said, relates to a deep-seated empathy in this small country.

He noted the July 2008 case of a terrorist who plowed toward the crowded Mahane Yehuda market at the wheel of a heavy construction vehicle, flipping over a bus and killing three people. An unarmed off-duty soldier, riding a bicycle, charged the vehicle and, in the midst of a hand-to-hand struggle, grabbed a weapon from a civilian security guard nearby and shot the attacker in the head.

“The willingness to risk life,” Shpiro said — stressing that he has never lived in the United States and cannot speak to the norms there — “is rooted in an Israeli culture of involvement, and a deep societal commitment to saving lives.”