Rabbi speaks out with moral clarity

Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing Gaza
Matthew Wagner, THE JERUSALEM POST

All civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot, former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.

The letter, published in Olam Katan [Small World], a weekly pamphlet to be distributed in synagogues nationwide this Friday, cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides’ commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision.

According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.

The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot or the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza.

Eliyahu could not be reached for an interview. However, Eliyahu’s son, Shmuel Eliyahu, who is chief rabbi of Safed, said his father opposed a ground troop incursion into Gaza that would endanger IDF soldiers. Rather, he advocated carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life.

    “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand,” said Shmuel Eliyahu. “And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop.”

In the letter, Eliyahu quoted from Psalms. “I will pursue my enemies and apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them.”

Eliyahu wrote that “This is a message to all leaders of the Jewish people not to be compassionate with those who shoot [rockets] at civilians in their houses.”

May 31, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. seems what other countries can do and get way with does not apply to israel. Our senior oficers are afraid of being detained and tried in third party countries if any complaint is made by any individual and groups aliged against israel. It is questionable today what any israeli goverment would do in such a case. another consideration is our crazy war ethics doctorine drawn up by non military extreme left professor Assa Kasher (not kosher).He is in line to the extreme with other liberal non mil. mind in Europe and the States, who beleive wars must have strict humanistic rules of engagement that rather inflict on the enemy non combatent casualties you must put at extreme risk one own forces instead or abort mission. It is based on pre: insurgency types of warfare where uniformed national armies fought ea. other. havent had one of those since korea. This crazy idea has been so inculcated within IDF that our senior officers actually bragged about how moral IDF was when we lost 22 soldiers unnecessarily in jennine a few years back. The sad part is that we were accused of atrocities when killing 50-60 terrorists dug in to civilian homes and lost 22 soldiers and many wounded by not flattening said homes on top of terrorists for fear of maybe injuring at the
    time non existent civillians.
    This foolish code of ethics installed in the IDF not only reduces effectiveness of fighting force it is also for them demoralizing and frustrating, as they are put at risk for specious resons and in the end after taking unnecessary casualties we and the IDF are still condemed by world opinion.
    Wars are not pretty and for many it is painful to the extreme: but sometimes they are necessary, cannot be avoided and in such cases primary goal should be to defeat the enemy what ever the cost. I grew up with for me was logical ethos that when in war behave as such and kill many, many more of the enemy as it akes to acheive the victory; all the while doing everything one can to reduce our own casualties.
    Genocide by definition is the muder and elimination of a people otherwise you can call the killing or murder of large amounts of people by its proper definition : mass Murder or massKilling but not Genocide. The term was invented to give special meaning to6 million jews frying in the ovens, as the object of the germans vis a vis the jews was theire total eradication not so all others who may have been murdrd in mass but the drive behind their murder was not the total eradication of all poles, or russians the Jews were singled out for this only therefore genocide pertains only for such instances; any use of term other than of jews or similar situations is to banalize the term and to dilute it to the point where it has lost its original intended meaning.

  2. I must take issue with the notion that the Hebrew Bible justifies genocide. Traditional commentary shows that enemies always had a way out (e.g. don’t aggress, leave, or adopt a civilized lifestyle, depending on the case). A proof is the discussion of the son of an Amalekite convert in the Book of Samuel — certainly if the Israelites had dealt as severely as a quick reading of certain texts indicates, there would have been no possibility of ever having an Amalekite convert.

    That being said, yes, the West (including Israelis) has willfully forgotten that the laws of war and the requirements of morality do not call for respecting civilian shields.

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