The above photo has gotten almost 1 million hits today on the web, with a wide variety of speculation as to why this woman is carrying an assault rifle to the beach. The girl in the bikini is part of the Israeli Defense Forces and their military has very strict regulations about losing your weapon.
So when those serving their mandatory time in the Israeli army are not on duty and they are out of uniform, they tend to carry their weapons with them rather then losing it or having it stolen.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, which picked up on the viral photo, wrote that “To an Israeli, the photo makes perfectly practical sense. When soldiers take their weapon off military premises, they must guard it closely and keep it on their person, at all times. Having one’s weapon stolen is harshly punished with time in military prison a given. ”
Haaretz also concludes that Israelis are “used to seeing guns in all kinds of places – propped up next to the guy sitting next to us in a coffee shop, or in a university classroom, and of course, slung over the shoulders of women soldiers.” That apparently also includes the shoulder of a woman ready for an afternoon at the beach.