A shooting range in Israel has come under fire for offering tourists the chance to pretend they’re security services shutting down terror attacks – using targets mocked up to look like Palestinians.
Caliber 3, which is based in the West Bank and run by a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), calls itself “the premier academy for counter terror and security”. It offers six courses for tourists, including desert “Survival Training”, krav magna martial arts, and “Combat Rappelling” using paintball guns.
But its “Ultimate Shooting Adventure” has raised eyebrows for its use of real guns and simulated terror attacks – with targets dressed up in Palestinian keffiyehs.
Photos on the company’s Facebook page show photos of men wearing keffiyehs for target practice, and the “terrorists” in live combat situations also wearing the traditional Palestinian scarves.
Tourists use real guns and ammunition for the two-hour session, Haaretz reported. Its “live counter-terror demonstration” includes a simulated suicide bombing, knife attack, “sniper tournament” using real assault and sniper rifles, and a demonstration of forces taking down a suspect with attack dogs.
The sessions cost $115 (£88), with a $30 discount for children.
Caliber 3’s website describes the Ultimate Shooting Adventure as its “legendary introduction program” and says it’s suitable for “tourists of any age who would like to get a taste of Israeli methods of shooting and combat”.
“Learn from the experts about weapons handling, counter terrorism tactics and the values that guide the Israel Defense Forces,” it adds.
There are six similar facilities across Israel, according to Middle East Monitor.
Caliber 3 opened in 2003, and runs courses for professionals as well as tourists. Founder Sharon Gat – a former IDF colonel – told Haaretz that between 15,000 and 25,000 people visit each year.
Most are from the US, he said, but numbers are increasing from China, Russia, Italy, France and South America. The company is running a week-long US-based course in Pennsylvania next month.
Although authorities initially banned him from offering the courses to foreign tourists, Gat told Haaretz that the Israeli government now “understands the importance of what we do… People who do our programs… become ambassadors for the State of Israel.”
Gat did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent.