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In recent years, Arab Israelis’ possession of illegal arms has become overwhelming. In response, the innovation and strategy unit of Israel’s Ministry of Public Security sought to complement regular police campaigns for disarmament with innovative approaches that would incentivize illegal arms holders, specifically from the Arab Israeli society, to surrender their illegal weapons. They got in touch with Q to help them uncover behavioral economics insights to develop innovative incentives.


The next police-led campaign to surrender arms has yet to be initiated within communities. However, with the knowledge and findings of the report, the Ministry of Public Security has gained an acute understanding of the challenge with nuanced analysis of the targeted social groups.


We took a robust approach that spanned three main steps. We started by conducting an international literary review. 

Then, we executed comprehensive interviews with multiple stakeholders made up of roughly a dozen individuals, including those from various ministries, Arab communities, municipalities, and academia to frame the challenge in a succinct report. 

This report served as a foundation to invite stakeholders to take part in a collaborative workshop of ideation and innovation. Together with about 30 people, ranging from civilians to government officials to police (who hadn’t previously collaborated on this issue before), we developed incentives and gained approval to put them into practice within the respective communities.

By combining the data and findings, we provided both the ministry and the other concerned stakeholders with a deeper understanding of the challenge and could segment the targeted population into subgroups based on their behavioral motivations and anticipated incentives. For example, most people feel a distrust of the police, while others want the right to protect their family or business. Knowing their unique motivations helped us to devise interventions according to their thought processes. 

Following the report and workshop, we suggested six (6) focused interventions to promote the voluntary surrender of illegal weapons in the Arab Israeli society, which included:

  • Civic surrendering points: Offering civic locations other than public or police points to surrender weapons in an informal manner
  • Motivation-based campaign: A digital campaign with improved targeted messaging based on demographics and motivations 
  • Social influence: The use of personal messaging from a close or respected contact for a more personal approach 
  • Mediated surrender by respected figures: Allowing for arms to be surrendered to respected religious or community figures 
  • Indirect incentives: Providing indirect and non-financial rewards for surrendering weapons 
  • Flexibility: Reducing friction and adding more flexibility with regard to both the time and place in which a person can surrender their weapon thus increasing the choice

"We worked with Q to address the complex challenge of increasing the voluntary handing-in of illegal firearms which are widespread in the Arab society in Israel and are causing major casualties in recent years. As previous handing-in campaigns yielded sporadic and low results, we sought to utilize more innovative methods. To achieve better results, we asked Q-BT to conduct research and collaborate with us to propose new ideas based on behavioral economics and innovation. Q's research was thorough and comprehensive, covering all stakeholders. The research report helped reframe the issues and outlined important entry points for influence. Q's research and conclusion have enabled us to host a multi-stakeholder workshop which was also facilitated by Q. Its aim was to jointly go through an ideation and innovative thinking speed process about potential interventions. As a result of Q's involvement, 6 focused recommendations for influential interventions were formulated, they can now be tested and deployed in the next arms handing-in campaign."

Ran Yona, Policy and Innovation Manager at The Ministry of Public Security