Thou Shall Not Kill. Period.

Those wailing about the deaths at the Gaza border are making some dangerous assumption, and misusing the Bible

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The so called “demonstrations” on the Israel-Gaza border are another form of military tactic used in the overall Palestinian war against Israel. The 60 Gazans killed while trying to cut the border fence were not asylum- or job-seekers. Their assignment was the same as a military assault vanguard. They were to break through the enemy’s barriers in preparation for an all-out attack. Challenging the necessity to kill these Hamas spearhead troops amounts to challenging the army’s right to eliminate any of its enemies.

Yet this is exactly what many Israelis are now saying; the clearest voice among them is perhaps Ruhama Weiss. In her May 18 column “Our Moral Desert in Gaza: This Isn’t My Religion,” Weiss charges Israel with murder for killing Israel’s enemies. Weiss–a teacher, author and columnist for the daily Yediot Aharonot–sounds very much like those religious Jews who cheer for J Street and applaud _Rabbis for Human Rights, _groups rush to condemn Israel for what they perceive as crimes against humanity.

Wiess starts her diatribe with the assertion that Israel is a fascist state, one that teaches its citizens that love for one’s country is more important than human lives. She gets it from a slogan she heard in her youth, that for Israel’s sake “it is forbidden to receive from the state, one should only give.” Wiess turns this slogan, that sounds very much like JFK’s immortal “ask not what your country can do for you…,” into a fascist state of mind that expresses Israel’s existential fear. To overcome their fear of death, she writes, Israelis strive to become a part of something bigger than themselves, something will not die with when they do. In Weiss’ estimation, this has produced in Israelis a sadistic love for country that’s transformed them into murderous fascists.

This is why, even as Gazans were being killed while trying to violently infiltrate Israel to destroy her, Weiss couldn’t stop crying. “I became utterly exhausted from seeing Jewish soldiers killing human beings … there are a thousand good reasons for the killing in Gaza and only one reason to stop it – it is immoral.” Israel, she says, has failed to make “thou shall not kill” a part of its government policy. It never took peace too seriously. In her fantasies, had Israeli simply given all authority to the 10 wisest, most creative women in the country, peace could have already been achieved.

Weiss uses pseudo-biblical notions of morality to justify her ugly accusations, much in the same way others use human rights to justify their hatred of Israel. But just as accusations about genocide, apartheid or racism lack factual foundations, so, too, does Weiss’ diatribe fall flat on its face. In her misandrist mindset, Weiss assumes, contrary to all available evidence, that Israel’s male population simply does not want peace. She also assumes that Hamas would erase its charter that vows to destroy Israel if only 10 Weiss-like women would tell them to do so. 

Worse still is her assumption that “thou shall not kill” is a sweeping command. Weiss’ ignoble interpretation, that fails to differentiate between murder and killing, inevitably makes God, who also commanded that “the murderer is to be put to death,” nothing less of a murderer. And if God is a murderer, how much more Israel, whose soldiers dare to kill innocent protestors whose only crime was attempting to realize Hamas’ dream of destroying the nation they were sworn to protect? Weiss’ sick reasoning, then, is the same as that of her enemies, who gleefully share her pious view that being a murderer, Israel is to be put to death.


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