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  • Family and Society
  • War Ethics

Israels Retaliation

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Sivan 3, 5781
Question
Is Israels current retaliation via rockets ok Halachically? I understand warnings are given but there are cases of older individuals and kids getting it because they didnt or couldnt move away fast enough; and its known that Hamas uses human shields, thus making any strike possibly life endangering for civilians.
Answer
National halachic questions such as this are clearly paskened through tens of similar precedents throughout the Tanach, and in the Rambam's Hilchot M'lachim u'Milchamoteihem. Very often in our history, enemy nations started up with Israel, and the halachic answer in the Land of Israel is always that we must fight back, even if some of their civilians (elderly, woman, children) will unfortunately be affected, for that's precisely what they want to do to us and our civilians. That's what happens in every war, and our enemies should take that into account before they start up with us! Why are their lives more important than Jewish lives?! Christianity supposedly believes in "turning the other cheek" when slapped, but Judaism believes that it's immoral to our innocent civilians, it's immoral for the world, and it's also immoral to the evil themselves, to continue to act immorally. Deterring the evil is moral and even doing a favor to them, as well (usually evil people don't have successful marriages, or good relationships with their children or society...). We must retaliate strong enough to make sure they don't start up again.
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