Thursday, April 26, 2018

Genocide is a mitzvah

Rabbi Ophir Wallas 
of the 
Bnei David Military Mechina

— transcript —

“In conquering the Land [of Israel] according to Nachmanides and Rashi [*], who say that the wars of today are also mitzvah wars for conquering the Land, I am beholden to nothing. This isn’t the law of the persecutor [**], right? What law are we dealing with? The laws of a mitzvah war, a war of occupying the Land. Even if I don’t conquer Gaza right now, [conquering it] is part of my ability to settle the Land of Israel, so it is also a part of the mitzvah of conquering the Land. And therefore it follows, there’s no other way; like, we’d have to kill them all. Because this is the difference between the Law of the Persecutor and mitzvah wars. […] A mitzvah war of conquering the Land, which is not limited to saving the people of Israel from their enemies, according to some of the Rishonim [***] I could, on the face of it and by the essential law, destroy, kill and cause to perish [****] all of them. I will not do so, because if I were to do so, and reject international treaties, then the State of Israel shall parish, unless we shall witness a miracle of miracles – and one must not trust in a miracle. And that’s the only reason I won’t do it.”
* Two prominent medieval glossa writers, Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman and Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki
** A halachaic law permitting the harm, up to killing, of a person who is “persecuting” others and putting them in danger.
*** Jewish religious scholars of the High and Late Middle Ages period
**** Wallas is here quoting Haman’s order for the extermination of Jews, Esther 3:13.

Influential rabbi teaches would-be Israeli soldiers: Genocide is a mitzvah, Mondoweiss, (17 April 2018), English translation by Yossi Gurvitz. 

— full lecture —

video source: The morality of war and the injury to those not involved during war, Bnei David website, Military Ethics and Relations between Nations, Issues in Torah and State.


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