Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

As we celebrated Purim this year, the holiday of redemption from a Holocaust and revenge against our enemies, terrorists attacked a soldier in Hevron.
Thankfully, the soldier was only slightly wounded before his buddies took out the two assailants.

Quite appropriately, the annual Purim costume parade began just where our enemies were felled.


One of the attackers was down when a soldier finished him off.

The self-appointed judges of what is moral, humane and authentically Jewish raised the usual howl. There is a soldier in jail today for killing that terrorist.

How do the concepts of the morality of official Israel apply to us and our situation? What does the Torah say about what is humane and authentically Jewish?

If you recall, after over two years (actually 150 years) of incessant Arab terror and Israeli restraint during the height of the Oslo illusion, with hundreds ( much more thousands over the last generations) of Jewish victims, the IDF finally was given the green light.
In 2002, during the “Defensive Shield” operation (launched to uproot the Arafat terrorist infrastructure built since Oslo – 1993) was launched to put a stop to the suicide bombing melee. During the fighting, IDF troops halted before a building held by terrorists in Jenin.
Jenin was a viper’s nest of terror and terror support.
There might have been Arab civilians in the building as well.

The options were:

1- Shell the building
2- Bomb the building from the air.
3 – Send in our men to seek and destroy the enemy while making every effort to avoid civilian causalities.
In other words, sacrifice our sons and fathers to protect theirs

If it was your son, brother or father waiting outside the building, which would you prefer?

The “purity of arms” policy that the IDF is so proud of, determined that only the last choice was an option; and so a dozen Jewish families were destroyed. But the good news is that a dozen Arab families were not.
We win the moral victory(and the world applauds…).
The question is, whose morality?

In the latest Gaza round, we sacrificed soldiers following the same IDF moral rule book ( even louder applause…).

This has everything to do with Purim and what our tradition teaches us about morality and how to fight a hostile enemy.

In the Megilla, we read (Chapter 8:11) Mordechai instructs the Jews to,” gather in every city to all the forces that would assault them(the enemy) along with their children and women..”
8:13, “..the Jews should be ready to avenge themselves on their enemies..”
8:16, “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor..”

Chapter 9:8 “And the Jews smote all their enemies..and treated those that hated them as they pleased..”

9:16 ..seventy-five thousand were slain on that day.
“Mmmm doesn’t sound like the IDF “purity of arms..”

In the entire history of the IDF, approximately 85,00 enemy have been killed.

Chief of staff, Gen Eisenkot recently said,” the IDF does not operate according to slogans such as (the biblical injunction) “Rise up to kill those who come to kill you”
Defense minister Ayalon said, “it is forbidden to forget our “humanity” and get out of control just because our blood boils..”

We need to decide what is the moral high ground here. Is it moral to send our people in harm’s way so as to keep the enemy out of it? Or is that precisely the pinnacle of immorality?

And who is “the enemy” according to our tradition and Torah?

Our greatest leaders such as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Saul, David never sacrificed our people to protect any member of the enemy nations they fought. And they new Torah and Jewish values fairly well.

Reminds me a little of how the allies fought the war against Germany and Japan…

How about this: the enemy should be aware that if he plans to strike a Jew, he will never survive the attempt.

Maimonides in the laws of kings. teaches that in a war that is thrust upon Israel, there is no distinction between combatants and enemy civilians. Kind of like the heroes who won WW2

The soldier who finished off the snake in Hevron has more Jewish Jewish morality little trigger finger than all the IDF manuals based on anything but Jewish morality and law.

Once again,” he who is merciful to the wicked will be wicked to the merciful”

As General Patton said, ‘don’t die for your country, make the enemy die for his.’

Did he go to yeshiva?

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Shalom Pollack, a veteran Israeli tour guide, served in the Israeli Navy and lectures on the Mideast.