Terrorists should be shot immediately as soon as they leave their homes with the intention of harming Jews, announced dozens of Israel’s leading rabbis at a special “Emergency Conference for the Security of the Nation of Israel in the Holy Land” in Jerusalem on Sunday evening.
The conference was called to discuss the current terror wave plaguing the country, Arutz Sheva reported. Arab Israelis and Palestinians carrying out stabbing, shooting, and car ramming attacks against Jews have taken the lives of 34 people since last September.
Conference attendees included noted rabbis such as Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Horowitz (the Bostoner Rebbe), Chief Rabbi of Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak Rabbi Moshe Landau, Temple Institute Director Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, and noted Torah educator Rabbi Shalom Gold, among many others.
Despite their somewhat different approaches to the observance of Jewish laws, the rabbis who gathered Sunday night had one important trait in common: a desire to send a very important message to the Israeli government.
During the evening, participants raised for discussion the ongoing storm of controversy surrounding Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier currently on trial after he shot dead a neutralized Palestinian terrorist in March. The rabbis discussed whether the soldier was correct in eliminating the terrorist upon believing the latter was wearing an explosive device.
Voicing support for Azaria, the rabbis declared that “every Arab terrorist who goes out from his home with an intention to harm Jews loses the right to exist, and they should be shot without any superfluous considerations.”
By killing the assailant, Azaria’s supporters said he fulfilled the Talmudic teaching, “When someone comes to kill you – kill him first”, therefore earning him praise.
A mere month before the attack in question, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot made comments rejecting this lesson. It was undoubtedly this rejection to which the rabbis’ statement was referring.
Condemning certain politicians in the Israeli government and senior IDF officials who share Eizenkot’s approach, the rabbis quoted the Biblical verse, “The man that is fearful and faint-hearted, let him go and return unto his house.” (Deuteronomy 20:8).
“Those who don’t want to act in this way [therefore] should not take on a role of responsibility for the security of Israel,” they asserted.
Further bolstering support for Azaria, Rabbi Shalom Gold, founder of Kehilat Zichron Yosef in Jerusalem, added, “We want to make it clear that it’s the responsibility of everybody in leadership to strengthen our soldiers wherever they are…Their responsibility is to protect and defend us and they’re doing a good job…They are the most moral army in world history.”
Continuing their message on the precautions necessary to protect the people of Israel from the terrorism plaguing the country, the rabbis wrote in a statement, “The only way to uproot the Arab murderers’ wave of terror in the Holy Land is by the Israeli government standing firm that there will never be negotiations on territories of the Holy Land.”
Relinquishing any Israeli land as a means for a two-state solution is heavily disputed among religious and political authorities worldwide. Left-wing politicians, such as John Kerry, typically push Israel’s leaders to meet Palestinians ‘in the middle’ on the assumption that such a solution will undoubtedly bring peace to the region. Religious leaders and right-wingers, however, are appalled at the notion of giving up Israeli land, as it goes directly against God’s instructions.
“God’s plan has been to give Israel to His people, not to anybody else…It belongs to the Jewish people of all generations. Nobody authorized us, nobody gave us the right, nobody gave us permission to hand over any part of Israel to anybody else,” said Rabbi Gold.
Further, Rabbi Gold explained, “The state should have learned already that every time we relinquish part of Israel, it only brings upon us terrible, terrible suffering.” No doubt referring to the 2005 withdrawal of approximately 10,000 Israelis from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria which resulted in Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, Rabbi Gold’s explanation serves as a warning that should Israel agree to surrender more land to the Palestinians, the current terror wave will only continue, and may even escalate.
Ultimately, it was for this purpose that the rabbis convened. “The rabbis here are against relinquishing any part of Israel to our enemies,” Rabbi Gold emphasized. “We, the rabbis here, will stand and fight that [a two state solution] will never, ever happen.”