Golda Meir wrote: “To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.”
Ethical Jewish Tradition Dictates No Wanton Slaughter which will be demonstrated goes back more than 3,300 years. So bear with me please.
In the current war against Palestinian Hamas, the Jews take great pains to fight according to ethics dating back all the way to Ancient Israel. Some of the ways Israel does this is Israeli Defense Forces
1) Call the cell phones and land lines of everyone in a target area
2) They drop warning fliers written in Arabic
3) They drop a dummy-bomb immediately before any attack.
You might be asking why do Jews try so hard to honor the commandment to “choose life,” even in wartime? We read (Deut. 30:19): “I call heaven and earth to witness you today: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse–therefore choose life!” The God of Abraham demanded when we may choose between life and death that we choose life.
This all goes back to David. Circa 1005 BC, King David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites, targeting only those who opposed him. There was no wanton slaughter, nor were surviving Jebusites expelled from the lands: (Judges 1:21) “And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites . . . but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day”.
We see a fair hand even as far back as 3000 years. But there is more and it goes back much farther than that. But here is just one example from 3000 years ago where the Jews honored the commandment to “choose life” even in times of war.
The Ethics of Property for Peace.
Israel has a history of giving Arabs land for peace. Israel gave the Sinai to the Egyptians, Lebanon to the Lebanese, and gave Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians, in exchange for peace, although the Muslims have proven quite aggressive against the Jewish State, despite their gift of Israeli land. The Egyptians in 1956 after Sinai was given in exchange for peace. Seized the Suez canal and cut of water to Israel. Today Lebanon still attacks the Jewish state with rockets and gun fire. Today from the west bank they the Jewish state faces rockets targeting their civilians and cities.
But why is Israel so interested in helping to maintain property rights when it comes to dealing with those who have been their adversaries?
Again, we can return to the administration of King David, who respected the property rights of the Jebusites, even though they had fought him. He refused to use a site for the sacrificial altar until he had paid for it, despite the fact that its owner, Araunah the Jebusite, had offered it to him for free. (2 Samuel 24:24) “And the king said unto Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you at a price; neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which has cost me nothing’”. David, quite notably, utilized Jebusites in his military, as well as in other occupations, just as Israel utilizes its Arab citizens today.
Israel Is an Enduring people this much is true. How long can they endure in today’s world?
In 1312 BC, centuries before King David, Israel became a sovereign nation. Israel is two thousand years older than the religion of Islam. Even counting Allah the moon God Israel has existed as a nation. When unoccupied by other empires, the only state ever to exist upon the land Israel now holds has been a Jewish one. Modern Israel is its third incarnation. It’s important to note Arab Palestinians never existed until 1967, when these people started to call themselves Palestinians in an attempt to validate their claims to possession of the land.
Arabs did not exist in Palestine until after 1200 AD, when the Ottoman Empire concurred the lands of Israel. But Jews had lived in these lands and it had been known as Israel for over 2500 years before the first Arabs arrived.
In an attempt to share the land with these Arabs, Israeli Jews—two decades before—invited these selfsame Arabs to remain in the newly-formed state. They offered the same rights to Arab Muslim citizens as they did to the Jewish ones. Those who stayed behind enjoy more freedom today than Arabs in Muslim countries do. They hold political offices, other government jobs, and serve in the military.
Another important note. The Jews have never left the land entirely, but have maintained a presence in it for more than 3300 years. After the Holocaust brought about the murder of six million Jews—a third of the total worldwide population—the call went out for a return home. The Tribe of Judah, in large numbers, headed for the Holy Land. This was the land of King David, and of the Jewish holy city that is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible over 700 times.
Side note: (The Quran, interestingly, mentions Jerusalem not even once!)
Tikkun Olam: the Jewish Tradition of Healing the World. Also a big reason Jewish scientists and doctors have won more noble prizes in medicine and science than any other group hands down. It’s the reason the Jewish people prize education, freedom and family. Healing starts at home with well-educated children and without freedom you have no innovation.
Perhaps the lack of freedom is why so few Arabs (Muslims) have won noble prizes in science, medicine and arts. As a more important note: Not a single Muslim living under sharia law has EVER been awarded a noble prize for ANYTHING.
The Jews, seeking a safe place and choosing their ancestral home, began to repair and improve the land, turning desert areas into fruit orchards, sowing crops in the earth, and building greenhouses. In contrast, the Israeli lands given to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were spoiled by the Palestinians. Greenhouses were destroyed and all the plants in them killed. Wells were filled in with dirt. Nothing made by Jews was left standing.
Have you ever wondered why Israel is so beautiful and Palestine is a wasteland? Look no farther than ANY Muslim controlled land. They are ALL wastelands. Iraq, Iran, everywhere Muslims dominate they live in poverty.
This destruction is similar to what Jordanian Arabs did when they controlled Jerusalem; they desecrated Jewish holy sites and barred Jews from accessing their holy city. Nowadays, with Israel in control, Jerusalem protects sacred sites of all religions, making them available to all worshipers. What a contrast? Freedom for any to enter the city, freedom for all faiths and their holy sites, and tolerance and peace. Contrasted to forced evictions of Jews, desecration of holy sites, barring other faiths access to the holy lands.
Can you yet see the difference?
There is no Compromise: Either You Have a Safe Haven or You Do Not.
Upon declaration of Israel’s re-establishment, in 1948, eight Arab countries declared war against the tiny state. Although Israel is no bigger than New Jersey, there was no room for a country run by Jews within the worldview of Islamo-fascist Arabs who wanted a Mid-East that was “Judenrein”—free of Jews. Almost seven of ten Arabs living in Israel abandoned ship, fleeing to Arab countries, rather than risk retaliation from Arabs who might detest them for living in a predominantly-Jewish country.
We can see the Arabs had no fear of Jewish reprisal. They fled because they were afraid of Arab reprisal. Unfortunately for those Arabs the bet on the wrong side. Those who left were not allowed to return by the Arab nations to which they fled. Today however Muslims, Christians and Jews live in peace; protected an equal under Jewish law.
Israel continues to seek peace.
Although Israel continues to work toward peace and fairness for all, and is the only state in the Mid-East that protects the rights of women and gays, it is interesting that the United Nations—perhaps because it is controlled by dictatorships and Islamo-fascist states— actively works against Israel, having passed literally hundreds of resolutions against the Jewish state over the years.
Even as the Jordanians destroyed 58 Jewish synagogues, desecrated the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and implemented a policy of forced segregation against Jews, the UN “saw no evil, heard no evil, and spoke no evil.” A huge contrast to their treatment of the always level hand of the Jews by the United Nations.
Israel is the only nation in the world to warn their enemy when airstrikes, bombs and soldiers are coming. They remain true to “choosing life” even in times of war and great distress. And the reward? They are portrayed as the bad guys.
It is a sad fact that anti-Semitism, post-Holocaust, is still alive and well in the world.
In many places especially in the Muslim world today, the Holocaust is even being denied. Perhaps the best way to address this problem is to support Israel. It is, after all, the only peace-loving democracy in the Mid-East and the only place in the world where Jews can live with the absolute expectation that they will be vigorously protected by their government and the vast majority of their fellow citizens.
It is the only beacon of light in the Middle East where freedom of speech and religion are not only tolerated but protected. It is the only place in the Middle East where all live in peace. Every citizen of Israel be it Muslim, Christian, Jew or other is free to pursue a life, get involved in government and seek personal satisfaction in life. It is the only place of peace for all faiths in the region.
Where is the outcry as Christians are being murdered by Muslims for the sole reason they are Christian? Where is the cry of war crimes as Palestinians intentionally target civilian areas with bombs? Where is the outcry against Islam for its treatment of Christians, Jews, Gays, Women?
Christians understand “Choose Life” even if they call it by another name. Turn the other cheek and love thy neighbor as yourself are exactly what “choosing life” is all about. Learning to forgive, learning to stand tall and confront evil so others may not take life from the innocent. “Choosing Life” isn’t the easy way. No it’s often the hardest way. Hate is so easy, silence is so easy, but “choosing life” will sometimes place us outside our comfort zones.
When Moses stood before all Israel and said, “Therefore choose life,” he was only repeating what had first been heard by Adam: “Thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee” (Moses 3:17). The word choose is not merely a command; it also refers to a power, a gift given from God. But if the power of choice is a gift given at birth, then what was the prophet’s purpose in saying, “Therefore choose life”? Just this: the gift can be kept only by being used. Choosing is like breathing. At birth we receive the breath of life. But we keep it only so long as we continually use it. In a physical sense, to stop breathing is to stop living. In a spiritual sense, to stop choosing is also to stop living, for living involves growth and development, and these can come only by means of our free choices. That is why the power to choose is so precious.
I choose as the Great Dr. King did. I choose to not be silent in the face of the evil of man. The wrath of man brought to bear against other men simply because they are different. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Our choices affect not only ourselves, but life on a global level. The silence to the evil of Islam is deafening. If you are part of the silence that allows Islam to do these things then shame on you!