Photo Credit:

It always amuses me when I hear politicians saying that ISIS or any other Muslim terrorist group is not a religion. That what they do is not in any way related to the religious principles of Islam. That is the most ridiculous statement anyone can make.

Of course I understand what they really mean. They mean that mainstream Muslims do not act the way ISIS does. This is true. I will go further and say that most Muslims are as abhorred by ISIS as any normal person would be. But to say that ISIS is not motivated by religious principles is as ridiculous as saying the Crusades were not motivated by religious principles.


ISIS wants to set up a pure Islamic state. A Caliphate, where the ruler – called a Caliph – will be a cleric with the power to enforce Sharia (Islamic) law as the law of the land. With all of the attendant consequences for violations of those laws. Like cutting off the hands of a convicted thief.

When a true believer believes that its ends are the equivalent of God’s ends, then all means are valid in order to achieve them. That can then justify murder and terrorism. These people are highly motivated by their religion. They believe not only in murder and terror as a means to their end. They are Moser Nefesh for them. They are willing to give up their lives for the cause.

This is why so many of them become suicide bombers. They are doing it for Islam, the religion of peace. A peace that will endure for eternity once Islam becomes the established religion of the world. Killing even innocent Muslims in that cause is justified. They will receive their reward for their sacrifice in heaven.

These people may be condemned by mainstream Muslim clerics. But there is not a scintilla of doubt in my mind that their actions are motivated by their religious beliefs. To say they are not is to deny reality. In fact these people might be the most devout and the certainly the most zealous Muslims of them all.

So when the President says that this has nothing to do with Islam, my eyes roll.

While there is absolutely no comparison in magnitude, the same can be said about people who put up Pashkevils (posters) like the one above from Rafi’s blog. The sign says some pretty vile things.It calls for going to war with enemies that have entered our camp to rip out the holiness of our youth. No we are not talking about ISIS. We are not even talking about Hamas. Who are these enemies? Why it is the Zionist entity and its murderous military. To quote Rafi:

the pashkevil is calling on the community to come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and chase out of the Haredi nieghborhoods all the traitors in Nahal Haredi and Shachar programs…

There are no signatures. But it claims to represent the will of great rabbinic leaders and sages. They are calling for war. Not a protest. But a war.

This ‘war’ was supposed to have taken place yesterday. I haven’t heard anything about it. It’s possible that no one actually paid any attention to it. I hope that’s the case. But the people behind posters like this are most likely the same ones who harass Charedi soldiers when they come into their communities. They are probably the same people that chase a religious solider out of their Shuls. They are probably the same ones who created those disgusting posters with caricatures of Charedi soldiers nefariously enticing their innocent youth into army service.

They are probably the same people who burn dumpsters in Jerusalem every time they want to protest something they don’t like about the government. They are probably the same ones who spit on reporters, throw rocks at cars on Shabbos, or at women whose level of modesty does not measure up to their standards – even if they are children as young as 8 years of age. Or that beat up women who sit in the unofficial men’s section of a bus

There are those who say that these people have nothing to do with Judaism. Charedi or otherwise That they are hooligans looking for mischief. That they are the outcasts of the Jewish world with lots of time on their hands. That they are people with no real Jewish values.

That is for the most part, probably true. Except for the last part. They most definitely do have Jewish values. It is those values that they are acting upon. That they may be doing so in inappropriate even condemnable ways. But does not take away the fact that they are doing it for God. They are fighting the evils of the army; he evils of Zionism; the evils of the lack of Tznius; or what have you. They are true believers, just like the Muslims of ISIS.

Just to be clear. I am in no way equating the Jewish miscreants with the terrorists of ISIS. The magnitude of difference is so huge that any comparison of one group to the other is ludicrous. As bad as these Jewish miscreants are, they do not line up people next to a ditch and mow them down with gunfire. They do not behead innocent journalists. But in terms of what motivates them, they are no different than ISIS.

Of course virtually every Jewish religious leader condemns them. Including Charedi ones. But all too often – that condemnation comes with a ‘but’. The ‘but’ being that their motives are just. That is clear from the rhetoric of many of those leaders themselves.

Mainstream rabbinic leaders have indeed said some pretty vile things about the army even while they were at war in Gaza. Much the same as these posters. That these people act on them in disgusting ways is sourced in exactly the same feelings of those rabbinic leaders. So that saying that these people have nothing to do with their religion is as ridiculous as saying that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.

I think it is high time to recognize this very simple and sad fact and change the tone of Charedi opposition to the draft. And to certainly never say ‘but’ when condemning bad behavior no matter what the motives behind it are.


Previous articlePolice Finally Arrest Muslim for Provocation on Temple Mount
Next articleThe Gift of The Islamic State
Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at