web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

THE MORALITY OF ISRAEL

The Israel Test

As a rabbi I’ve always tried to stay away from politics. In my sermons and even in private discussions with students I generally refrain from sharing my own personnel opinion on political issues. But I draw the line when issues of morality and ethics are raised and the media’s coverage on the current war between Israel and Hamas has moved this issue from politics to morality. Again and again, Israel is accused of human rights violations, of acting disproportionately in their bombing of Gaza and of being insensitive to the plight of innocent Palestinians caught in the middle.  Since the issue has been re-framed as a matter of right and wrong, we the Jewish people, who have introduced so much morality and ethics to the world, must respond to these allegations of immorality, even at the expense of pointing out the obvious. To me and maybe to you as well, much of what I say may be obvious but I believe still important to be said. Each charge below is an accusation that I have heard in one way or another over the last few days expressed in the mainstream media. Still trying to stay out of politics, I will limit my responses to the moral issue levied in each charge: Charge: Israel is just as morally responsible for this “cycle of violence” as is Hamas. Response: When it comes to morality it matters who attacks first as the object of the initial aggression has the moral right to self-defense. To be clear, this war began with the kidnapping of three Jewish boys coming home from school. In an effort to find the boys and bring them to safety Israel arrested many of Hamas’ leaders. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel, which was then followed by Israeli air strikes on terrorist positions to stop the rocket attacks on Israel. The media speaks of a “cycle of violence” but every cycle has a beginning. And this one clearly started with Hamas. Charge: Israel’s immoral occupation of Palestinian territory is ultimately responsible for the current crisis. Response: First, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza strip only after winning those territories in a defensive war thrust upon Israel and therefore the whole question as to who is morally or legally entitled to these lands is not simple. However, for the purposes of this war, the issue of occupation is irrelevant since Israel pulled out of Gaza and handed it over to the Palestinian people. The world has somehow forgotten the painful evacuation of close to 8000 Jews who were living in Gaza.  And so the claim that the Israeli occupation is ultimately at fault is baseless as Israel no longer controls or occupies Gaza, Hamas does. Charge: Both Israel and the Palestinians cultivate a culture of hate and vengeance as evidenced by the kidnapping and killing by both Israelis and Palestinians of innocent teenagers. Response: There is no moral equivalency between these two heinous crimes since the crime committed by the Israelis is an anomaly denounced by everyone in Israeli society, both by the public and the leaders. Contrast this to the Palestinian kidnappers and killers who continue to receive the praise of their people and leaders. Further, Israel arrested the Israel suspects who await prosecution in a court of law (as they should) whereas the only ones looking to bring the Palestinian suspects to justice is Israel. Palestinian leaders and schools still educate their society and children in Jew hatred while Jewish leaders and teachers do not educate or incite Arab or Palestinian hatred. Charge: Israel’s bombing of Gaza is indiscriminate targeting schools, hospitals and mosques. Response: Israel targets and bombs Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists and their rocket launching sites.  It does not target innocent civilians. It is well documented that Hamas has purposely placed rocket launching facilities under schools, mosques and hospitals using the children, patients or worshipers in those locations as human shields. If Israel wanted to kill civilians it could have killed hundreds of thousands but it has no such desire which is further evidenced by the IDF’s sending of leaflets and making phone calls to clear out as many innocent civilians as possible when targeting a rocket facility or a terrorist. Contrast this to Hamas’s rocket attacks which specifically target Israeli population centers.  As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked: “We are using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles”.

About the Author: Rabbi Mark Wildes holds a BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University, a JD from the Cardozo School of Law, a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and was ordained from Yeshiva University. He currently teaches an Outreach Training Seminar at Yeshiva University’s Rabbinical School.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “THE MORALITY OF ISRAEL”

  1. JD Méndez says:

    When was the last time G-d asked anyone what was the right course of action? I don’t ask the world whether I’m right, I KNOW I AM, PERIOD. As much as my Lord expects me to choose life thus respect it, I have to be alive to begin with.

  2. As much as people want to deny it, we, Jews and gentiles, are not the same. Our morals, religion, culture and history are not the same and should not be. If it is there has been a failure on the part of Jews. All humans, yes, but that’s where it ends. Why do we keep looking for something that never existed and shouldn’t? History shows that to coexist in any participatory way shows that Jews must relinquish Judaism in some part. And it shows that the same people who cry out for humanity, peace, love,etc., have typically been our murderers.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Harvard seal, "veritas," on the side of a Harvard building.
Harvard Will Investigate, But Will it Reverse SodaStream Boycott?
Latest Indepth Stories
Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

Sprecher-121914

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Russia Cuba relations

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

Israel and the strengthening of the Jewish people in faith and numbers has brought a growing light

“Can you hear what the dead are whispering? Leave Galut, escape to Eretz Israel-Lech lecha!”

3 main messages emerged from this conference: Communications, Community, and Collaboration.

More Articles from Rabbi Mark Wildes
The Israel Test

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

The mothers of the three kidnapped boys, Iris Yifrach (R), Bat Galim Shaar (C), Rachel Frenkel (L), seen at the Knesset during a meeting with Knesset members, on the 13th day of ongoing searches for them in the Disputed Territories on June 25, 2014.

A mother’s request for Israel: Sustain the Achdut and Ahavat Yisrael.

There was never a “good” Hitler, not even before 1939.

Young Jews desperately need to experience both the serious and lighter sides of Judaism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-morality-of-israel/2014/07/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: