Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 1 June 2007

The law’s the law

Matthew Wagner reports in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post that the former Sephardi chief rabbi, Mordechai Eliyahu, has written to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert explaining the impact of Jewish law on his treatment of the qassam rocket issue. In particular, the Rabbi ‘said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot’.

According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.

Since it is also forbidden to take any risks with ‘the lives of IDF soldiers’, Eliyahu's son, Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed, explained

his father opposed a ground troop incursion into Gaza that would endanger IDF soldiers. Rather, he advocated carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life.

Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.

The letter…cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides' commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision… Eliyahu quoted from Psalms. "I will pursue my enemies and apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them." [18:37]

Eliyahu wrote that "This is a message to all leaders of the Jewish people not to be compassionate with those who shoot [rockets] at civilians in their houses."

There is of course no prohibition in Jewish law for raining precision guided munitions and less accurate tank shells on Palestinians. Nor is there any scriptural basis for retaliation. After all, a million of them are not worth one Jewish fingernail.

[Thanks for Moshe Machover for the heads up]

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure we are going to read about another "Imam preaching hate" in the US media... while completely ignoring this story.