The Complete Guide to Killing Non-Jews

by Roi Sharon


Jewish settlers cut a Palestinian boy’s
arm off for throwing stones. This also is, according to
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, a permitted act under Jewish Law and
Jewish "religion".


When is it permissible to kill non-Jews? The book "Torat ha-Melekh" [The
King’s Teaching – INT], which was just published, was written by Rabbi
Yitzhak Shapira, the dean of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in the community
of Yitzhar near Nablus, together with another rabbi from the yeshiva,
Yossi Elitzur. The book contains no fewer than 230 pages on the laws
concerning the killing of non-Jews
, a kind of
guide for anyone who
ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life
of a non-Jew.


Although the book is not being distributed by the leading book companies,
it has already received warm recommendations from right-wing elements,
including recommendations from important rabbis such as Yitzhak Ginsburg,
Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef
, that were printed at the beginning of the
book. The book is being distributed via the Internet and through the
yeshiva
, and at this stage the introductory price is NIS 30 per copy. At
the memorial ceremony that was held over the weekend in Jerusalem for
Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was killed nineteen years ago, copies of the book
were sold.


Throughout the book, the authors deal with in-depth theoretical
questions in Jewish religious law regarding the killing of non-Jews.
The
words "Arabs" and "Palestinians" are not mentioned even indirectly, and
the authors are careful to avoid making explicit statements in favor of
an individual taking the law into his own hands. The book includes
hundreds of sources from the Bible and religious law.
The book includes
quotes from Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, one of the fathers of religious
Zionism, and from Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, one of the deans of the Mercaz
Harav Yeshiva, the stronghold of national-religious Zionism that is
located in Jerusalem.


The book opens with a prohibition against killing non-Jews and justifies
it, among other things, on the grounds of preventing hostility and any
desecration of God’s name. But very quickly, the authors move from
prohibition to permission
, to the various dispensations for harming
non-Jews, with the central reason being their obligation to uphold the
seven Noahide laws, which every human being on earth must follow. Among
these commandments are prohibitions on theft, bloodshed and idolatry. [The
seven Noahide laws prohibit idolatry, murder, theft, illicit sexual
relations, blasphemy and eating the flesh of a live animal, and require
societies to institute just laws and law courts – INT]


"When we approach a non-Jew who has violated the seven Noahide laws and
kill him out of concern for upholding these seven laws, no prohibition
has been violated,"
states the book, which emphasizes that killing is
forbidden unless it is done in obedience to a court ruling. But later
on, the authors limit the prohibition, noting that it applies only to a
"proper system that deals with non-Jews who violate the seven Noahide
commandments."


The book includes another conclusion that explains when a non-Jew may be
killed even if he is not an enemy of the Jews.
"In any situation in
which a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives, the non-Jew may be
killed even if he is a righteous Gentile and not at all guilty for the
situation that has been created,"
the authors state. "When a non-Jew
assists a murderer of Jews and causes the death of one, he may be killed,
and in any case where a non-Jew’s presence causes danger to Jews, the
non-Jew may be killed."


One of the dispensations for killing non-Jews, according to religious
law, applies in a case of din rodef [the law of the "pursuer," according
to which one who is pursuing another with murderous intent may be killed
extrajudicially] even when the pursuer is a civilian. "The dispensation
applies even when the pursuer is not threatening to kill directly, but
only indirectly,"
the book states. "Even a civilian who assists combat
fighters is considered a pursuer and may be killed. Anyone who assists
the army of the wicked in any way is strengthening murderers and is
considered a pursuer. A civilian who encourages the war gives the king
and his soldiers the strength to continue. Therefore, any citizen of the
state that opposes us who encourages the combat soldiers or expresses
satisfaction over their actions is considered a pursuer and may be
killed. Also, anyone who weakens our own state by word or similar action
is considered a pursuer."


Rabbis Shapira and Elitzur determine that
children may also be harmed
because they are "hindrances."
The rabbis write as follows:
"Hindrances – babies
are found many times in this situation. They block the way to rescue by
their presence and do so completely by force. Nevertheless, they may be
killed because their presence aids murder. There is justification for
killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in
such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during
combat with adults."


In addition, the children of the leader may be harmed in order to apply
pressure to him.
If attacking the children of a wicked ruler will
influence him not to behave wickedly, they may be harmed. "It is better
to kill the pursuers than to kill others,"
the authors state.


In a chapter entitled "Deliberate harm to innocents," the book explains
that war is directly mainly against the pursuers, but those who belong
to the enemy nation are also considered the enemy because they are
assisting murderers.


Retaliation also has a place and purpose in this book by Rabbis Shapira
and Elitzur. "In order to defeat the enemy, we must behave toward them
in a spirit of retaliation and measure for measure,"
they state.
"Retaliation is absolutely
necessary
in order to render such wickedness not worthwhile.
Therefore, sometimes we do cruel deeds in order
to create the proper balance of
terror."


In one of the footnotes, the two rabbis write in such a way that appears
to permit individuals to act on their own, outside of any decision by
the government or the army.


"A decision by the nation is not necessary to permit shedding the blood
of the evil kingdom,"
the rabbis write. "Even individuals
from the nation being attacked may harm them."


Unlike books of religious law that are published by yeshivas, this time
the rabbis added a chapter containing the book’s conclusions. Each of
the six chapters is summarized into main points of several lines, which
state, among other things:
"In religious law, we have found that non-Jews are generally suspected
of shedding Jewish blood
, and in war, this suspicion becomes a
great deal stronger. One must consider
killing even babies, who
have not violated the seven Noahide laws, because of the future danger
that will be caused if they are allowed to grow up to be as wicked as
their parents."


Even though the authors are careful, as stated, to use the term "non-Jews,"
there are certainly those who could interpret the nationality of the
"non-Jews" who are liable to endanger the Jewish people
. This is
strengthened by the leaflet "The Jewish Voice," which is published on
the Internet from Yitzhar, which comments on the book: "It is
superfluous to note that nowhere in the book is it written that the
statements are directly only to the ancient non-Jews."
The leaflet’s
editors did not omit a stinging remark directed at the GSS, who will
certainly take the trouble to get themselves a copy. "The editors
suggest to the GSS that they award the prize for Israel’s security to
the authors," the leaflet states, "who gave the detectives the option of
reading the summarized conclusions without any need for in-depth study
of the entire book."


One student of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar explained, from his
point of view, where Rabbis Shapira and Elitzur got the courage to speak
so freely on a subject such as the killing of non-Jews.
"The rabbis
aren’t afraid of prosecution because in that case, Maimonides [Rabbi
Moses ben Maimon, 1135–1204] and Nahmanides [Rabbi Moses ben Nahman,
1194–1270] would have to stand trial too, and anyway, this is research
on religious law,"
the yeshiva student said. "In a Jewish
state, nobody sits in jail for studying Torah."

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