As many of us suspected, Israel is fighting the latest war with Hamas under the reprehensable doctrines or “tohar haneshek”, “pure rifles”, and “havlaga” , self-restraint. Tragic, since these Ghandian principles are antithetical to true Jewish values, denying the most basic morality of self-preservation. Unfortunately, havlaga has long become Likud’s platform on such matters, even if the ideology itself was spawned by the left. Save for a few economic principles, the Likud of today differs little from its Labor counterpart. Both parties are inundated with those who see appeasement and self-restraint as virtues to be cultivated and displayed to an uncaring world. I think differently. I’m a Jew, not a quaker. It’s in the Torah. “If one comes to slay you, slay them first.”
Netanyahu cares what the anti-Semitic world thinks, even as he continues to send our soldiers to battle a ruthless, inhuman enemy. The script has become cliche. We can see the same spineless leadership. The same precise surgical strikes on empty warehouses and buildings. The same kowtowing to the European Union and the U.S. Groveling and debasement before Obama. The same display of Jewish weakness. All in the face of unrelenting Arab terror and warfare on an entire nation. This is not the way to fight a war. Not according to the sanity of a moral western nation, and certainly not according to the Halacha. Hamas only understands death. Instead of making them feel the wrath of collective punishment as required by Jewish law, Israel sends food and medical supplies. Something is indeed wrong with us. Our country needs a national couch.
What does the Torah state about Jewish war? Naturally one turns to the Tanach, and the classical commentaries.
Deuteronomy 20:1- “When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, thou shalt not be afraid of them; for the L-rd thy G-d is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
What is meant by your enemies? Said the Holy One, Blessed be He: Go against them as enemies, just as they do not have mercy upon you, have no mercy on them.”-(Midrash Tanhuma, Shoftim 15.)
What is the reality we face? Consider the reality of an entire country on fire. Every region has been hit by rockets. The only normal response to such an existential threat is destroying the enemy. As I type these words, Obama is working behind the scenes with the nefarious Egyptians to stop Israel from defending herself. Remember Operation Cast Lead? It seems like yesterday. What a dramatic failure. “Operation Cast Lead” started off well, all things considered. Hardly an example of biblical warfare, but nevertheless, an impressive display of Jewish might. (No thanks to the politicians in power, who only went to war after years of allowing Hamas to rain rockets on Sderot and the adjoining towns of the extreme Western Negev.) The credit for fighting went solely to the men and women of the IDF, not the politicians who played games with their lives. Unfortunately, the impressive fireworks in the beginning were all smoke and mirrors. True, there was destruction, but not nearly enough. As they fought, Israel did an astonishing thing that no normal people would ever consider. Every single day, they endangered Jewish lives by sending humanitarian aid to Gaza. Madness from Chelm.
Despite such political madness, the IDF and IAF fought heroically. They made their way into Gaza. And then out of nowhere came the ceasefire. That infamous bit of diplomacy. The world hadn’t seen such lunacy since Neville Chamberlain handed his dignity to Hitler. Hamas abrogated the “ceasefire” from the start. Hours after agreeing to it, they bombarded the Negev with a barrage of rockets. Just to test the ceasefire, of course, to make sure it was legit. Then came the mortar and sniper attacks on the IDF, and attempts to smuggle weapons into Gaza.
Jewish warfare is premised on the idea that evil must be destroyed if the innocent are to survive. Of course Halachic definitions and standards of war (which are the most moral in the world!) are unrealistic in a state where appeasement is a guiding principle, and the desire to show the world that we are more moral in battle. And that’s why the rockets are falling again with greater frequency. Hamas smells Jewish fear which in turn triggers their craving for Jewish blood. Netanyahu is afraid of upsetting a world
that resents the notion of Jews defending themselves.
Israel needs to re-enter Gaza and destroy Hamas. They should open up the Tanach and read how Jewish wars are supposed to be fought. Rule # 1, faith in The Almighty. Rule # 2, No politicians. No international diplomacy. No one-sided “temporary lulls in fighting” for humanitarian aid trucks carrying aid to the enemy. No restraint to prevent civilian casualties. No endangering of Jewish soldiers so that the U.N. can be spared the image of dead terrorists. There are no civilians in a society that elects Hamas, and gives out candy and sweet meats when Jews are blown to bits. Clean up the mess, and welcome the Jews of Azza home.
No doubt many Jews have instinctively asked the age old question of the nebbish Jew, What will the world think? Who cares?The world will think what it thinks, what it has always thought. They will think that we killed Jesus and poisoned their wells. They will think that we drink gentile blood and rape christian girls. We Jews have The Almighty. And thank G-d, we have a strong military that has the capability to defeat this most savage of enemies, if our leaders had the will. If we follow His Will the world will see a different Jew. Let us follow the laws of Jewish war and kill the enemy before he kills us. This isn’t racism or extremism. This is sanity and the law of survival.
Once upon a time, wars were wars and men were men. And good moral men understood that in order to defeat evil, you had to destroy it. That doesn’t make you just like the bad guys. That keeps you alive. Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Dresden. The lessons of history and prime examples of strong men who understood national survival. Yet somehow Israel is different, and must endure the double standard of having to put up with death and despair. Nursed on the national doctrine of tohar haneshek, Israel follows the liberal belief that sees all violence as a negative, even the supremely moral violence of self-preservation. Until this malignant philosophy is extricated from the Jewish conscience, we will continue to bleed and die at the hands of Arab terrorists.
May Hakadosh Baruch Hu protect Am Yisroel. And may true leadership arise that has the fortitude and wisdom to protect the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
About the Author: Donny Fuchs made aliyah in 2006 from Long Island to the Negev, where he resides with his family. He has a keen passion for the flora and fauna of Israel and enjoys hiking the Negev desert. His religious perspective is deeply grounded in the Rambam's rational approach to Judaism.
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