Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
One of the most popular causes among Jewish liberals is opposition to capital punishment. The Religious Action Center, the political SWAT Team of the Reform movement, has long considered opposing capital punishment to be one of its highest priorities. Many other groups of Jewish liberals, and some non-liberals, oppose all forms of capital punishment, supposedly in the name of Jewish ethics and the invariably misrepresented “tikkun olam.”
Whenever one comes out in favor of capital punishment, one inevitably hears shrieks from such folks about how execution is inhumane, how it violates human dignity, how every human soul, even that of murderers, has been created in G-d’s image and so should be preserved at
This is all very interesting. There?s just one little problem, though. The Bible makes it crystal clear that the way one acknowledges that human souls are created in G-d’s image and deserving of respect and dignity is through capital punishment. Just read Genesis 9:6: “A man who spills human blood, his own blood shall be spilled by man because G-d made man in His own Image.” Not just among Jews, by the way, but among all sons of Noah.
In other words, the preservation of human dignity requires capital punishment of convicted murderers. The position of Judaism is the opposite of the position espoused by liberals. It is precisely because of man’s creation in G-d’s image that capital punishment is declared justified
and necessary. Human dignity requires execution of murderers, not compassion for their souls.
Moreover, capital punishment is regarded by Judaism as a favor for the capital sinner, a form of atonement and redemption. Ordinary murderers are allowed to achieve atonement for their souls in their execution. Only especially vile murderers – such as a false witness whose lies are discovered after the person who was framed has been executed, or a man who sacrifices both his son and his daughter to the pagan god Molokh – are denied execution because they are regarded as beyond redemption through capital punishment. Again, execution preserves
human dignity, it does not defile it.
Israelis have for years debated the pros and cons of capital punishment for convicted terrorist murderers. Up to this point, Israel has never had a death penalty, the lone exception being the execution of the Nazi beast Eichmann. Naturally, the Beautiful Left is vehemently opposed to the very idea of capital punishment.
So maybe the time is right to take a deep breath and step back and re-examine the issue. Should Israel have a death penalty?
Opponents of the death penalty say it does not deter terrorism or violence. But how do they know? How do they know the level of violent crime the United States would experience if it did not have a death penalty – or if it had a more widely applied one? How do they know whether the level of terrorism would decrease in an Israel with a death penalty compared to an
Israel without one?
Actually, the death penalty should be implemented against terrorists even if it doesn’t deter terrorism. It should be implemented because it represents a great moral statement. It is the moral and ethical thing to do. Executing terrorists makes a statement that they are scum with
no claim a right to life. Capital punishment represents a moral and just vengeance. It represents a declaration of good and evil. We do not build statues of heroes and otherwise honor them because we necessarily believe these are utilitarian and will lead to the emergence of new heroes, but rather because we are making a statement as a society regarding our values and what we honor. Executing terrorists is precisely the same sort of societal statement, in the opposite direction.
It is for this moral reason that traditional Judaism unambiguously endorses the death penalty for premeditated murder .It does not do so because of any sociological speculation about the powers of deterrence, and it is clear that the death penalty is viewed as a just punishment even if it deters nothing at all.
Opponents of the death penalty argue that implementing it would represent capitulating to the populist demands and pressures of the public. Huh? That is essentially a concession that the general electorate favors it and so its establishment would be the democratic thing to do. Denying the death penalty is elitist and anti-democratic.
Opponents of the death penalty in Israel argue that Arab terrorists would retaliate by mistreating or killing Jews they capture. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry at this claim. The PLO and its sister organizations already lynch, torture and murder every Jew they can lay their hands on, including children – all this while Israel has no death penalty. So what exactly is there to lose?
Opponents argue that it would be dehumanizing to ask an Israeli to act as an executioner, as the one who would push the button or pull the switch. They worry it would be hard to find someone to play the executioner. My guess, however, is that the number of volunteers for any
such switch-pulling would be so large that the Israeli government could balance the budget by auctioning off lotto chances to pull it. Personally, I would offer family members of victims of terrorism first “dibs.”
Opponents of the death penalty in Israel and elsewhere argue that errors in judgment
might be made and innocent people might be executed. This is a fallacious argument even when discussing execution of criminals, but even more so when discussing terrorists. There is no serious evidence I know of that any innocent person has ever been executed in the United States. But more generally, everything we do (and everything government does) carries some risk that an innocent person might be killed as a result of those actions and policies. Should we shut down the post office because postal trucks sometimes run over innocent people? Should we ground all planes because sometimes innocent people are killed in accidents? Even if there
were a non-negligible risk of such errors, that is certainly no reason not to have a death penalty.
Opponents of the death penalty argue that it is expensive to implement. This is absurd. Room and board for terrorists for life in prison are exorbitant. The death penalty is “expensive” in the U.S. only because of America’s judicial system, which allows endless expensive appeals to
proceed forever. Israel has no jury system at all. In any case, these costs can be contained by restricting the options of appeals of convicted terrorists.
Opponents of the death penalty in Israel argue that terrorists might resist capture by fighting to the death and so harm police and soldiers. I say let’s take our chances. Better the soldiers than the children on the school buses or the women in the cafes. That is why we have soldiers. I am
sure they will cope. And suicide bombers are not exactly likely to turn more deadly because they face the death penalty if captured.
One shouldn’t be shocked that the most vociferous opposition to the death penalty for terrorists comes from the same Israeli leftists who always put the rights of Arab murderers ahead of the rights of innocent Jews. These are the same people who turned most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip into cities of refuge for terrorists, bases for launching murder atrocities against hundreds of Israelis each year.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.
Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
April 16, 2013
Dear Mr. President,
My heartfelt sympathies to you and the American people for the acts of protest carried out in Boston this week during the Boston Marathon. This really is a wake-up call for us all.
Honest Abe used exactly the same blockade tactic against the Confederacy over which the Israeli Left is now sobbing its eyes out.
Quick. Name all the Israeli parties that did not run in the recent election on a platform focusing on lowering the price of housing and the cost of living. After that, name all the Israeli parties who understand what has produced the rapid increase in housing prices and have a plan for coping with them and lowering them.
There is a widespread misconception that the Middle East conflict is complicated. In fact, it is really rather simple.
Indeed, one can basically summarize and explain the entire conflict in the context of the words “occupation” or “occupied territories” and people’s beliefs about the effects of such “occupation.”
In 1999, Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first go-round as prime minister, lost his reelection bid to Ehud Barak, much to the delight of Israel’s conscripted media and of many in its judicial system.
There is a species of radical leftist that believes the main purpose of taxpayer-funded universities is to indoctrinate students in radical left-wing ideology. Such people believe the only legitimate form of scholarly research and teaching is to force upon students the ideas and agendas of the left because only these represent correct thinking.
It is now official. Rachel Corrie, patron saint of the pro-terror radical left and its Islamofascist allies, essentially committed suicide in order to assist Palestinian terrorists. She was not killed in cavalier fashion by Israel. Israel had no particular reason to want her dead (as opposed to deported).
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