How schools in Israel keep students safe and prevent mass shootings

TEL AVIV -- It's an inescapable fact that school shootings are rare outside the United States, and virtually unheard of in Israel. So, what are the Israelis doing differently?

At one high school in Israel, we saw a typical scene -- an armed guard outside the main entrance. Since 1974 there have only been half a dozen terror attacks on Israeli schools. Principal Nati Stern says there are about 145 teachers at the school, and none are armed with guns.

"We have at least one security guard," Stern said. "I think it provides us with everything we need."

Security in Israel is the job of the police, the job of the state, Stern explained.

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Security officers in Israel undergoing training

CBS News

Every gun owner in Israel has to go through training. For security guards, they have to undergo training every four months. 

Like many instructors, Sharon Gat is ex-military. He says tough background checks also make schools safer here.

We told him that there's a perception in the U.S. that everyone in Israel has a gun.

"Very false," he replied. "Gun laws in America are much more loose than gun laws in Israel."

In Israel it can take up to three months to get a gun. For starters, you have to be over 27, unless you've served in the military. Then you must prove that your job requires a gun, and get a doctor to sign off. Doctors like Omri Ben Ezra also check for mental illness. The final step is at the gun range.

But about 40 percent of school security guards fail and need to reapply. That's fine with principals like Stern.