Jewish War Policy

by Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski

According to the Torah, when the Jewish people wage a war that is morally permissible, let alone obligatory, the objective must be the unconditional surrender of the enemy. War is war, and if we are justified in going to war than the goal must be total victory. This doctrine was followed successfully by the USA has during World War II. The Allies during WWII mercilessly, and by military means alone, crushed Fascism obliterating it from the face of the earth. Consequently, the Germans came crawling on their knees begging to surrender.

President Truman was forced to resort to drastic measures in order to once and for all break the back of Japanese imperialism. He understood that there could be no negotiations or a truce with those who committed Pearl Harbor and plunged the world into WWII. He settled for nothing less than the unconditional surrender of Japan. Eventually the Japanese too came around begging to surrender. Consequently, we have enjoyed close to sixty years of genuine peace and uninterrupted tranquility with the Germans and the Japanese!

The well being of a country is measured by the safety and the well being of each of its citizens. When America was attacked it responded normally by immediately declaring war against the enemy. Entire countries are being taken out, yesterday Afghanistan; tomorrow Iraq. The United Sates refuses to negotiate with Saddam Hussein. Its clearly stated goal is Iraqi disarmament and Saddam's unconditional surrender.

How ironic, that the people of the book, the very book that predicted the eternal survival of the Jewish people, have totally abandoned its life-affirming guidelines, and its proven formula for peace. Because Israel is not prepared to go all the way, it is losing the war. Although Israel has won five out of five battles, and it will win the present battle as well, it has never delivered a crushing blow to its sworn enemies to the point that they begged to surrender.

In Israel, however, it took two years, hundreds of dead, thousands of wounded, millions of people scared to leave their homes or put their children on a bus -- and the Passover Massacre, until Israel even acknowledged that there was a war going on. Incredibly, Israel has publicly proclaimed and solemnly pledged not to harm Arafat's terrorist regime. Those courageous "Palestinian heroes" who are anything but suicidal, who bravely send other people's children to their death, were given a life insurance policy by Israel!
The issue shouldn't be whether or not to exile Arafat. He and his gang of murderers should be brought to their knees, they should come crawling begging to surrender.
Why does Israel refuse to go all the way? Because many Israeli leaders and citizens do not truly believe that the land is ours, that G-d gave it to us as specified in His Torah; therefore Israel does not react as if it is their home that is under siege. If you feel like a thief in your own home than you may empathize with the thugs. Israel has practically conceded that Jews are thieves, bandits, colonialists and occupiers who have stolen the land from the Arabs.

If one does not believe in G-d and in his Torah than indeed we are a bunch of criminal bandits. Tel Aviv and Jaffa are occupied territory, all of Israel is one big settlement, and all Israelis are settlers, usurpers. The moral thing to do would be to forthwith relinquish the entire land of Israel to its rightful owners the Arabs, and to go back to Odessa, to Poland or move to America.

How dare a Jewish leader get up and proclaims before the whole world that millions and millions of Jews living moral and holy over the past 3,000 years believing that Israel is their home -- were all thieves. Shame, shame, shame!

Let us shamelessly admit that we have tried every alternative to the real thing and we have reached a dead end. Why not try the one genuine and authentic response: the Torah response. Israel should unabashedly proclaim before the whole world the simple truth, the only truth that the world can and will accept: The only reason the Jewish people are in Israel is because G-d gave it to us as an eternal inheritance. This is our home, our permanent home and any guest who misbehaves will be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Anyone who dares to even whisper or breathe the word suicide or homicide will immediately forfeit the privilege of living in the "King's Palace!"

The burning issue of the day is not the welfare of the Jewish State rather it is the state of the Jew. We have to rediscover our inner sense of pride and dignity and re-ignite the spark turning it into a blazing flame. We must hold a candle of truth to the ocean of lies engulfing us from within and from without. We hold the deed and the guarantee of victory in our hands: the living Torah that contains the eternal promise of the inheritance of our Holy Land, as well as a genuine and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach. May we merit its immediate actualization, full-blown implementation and complete realization. Now.

(Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski is director of Chabad of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He may be e-mailed at

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