• Home
  • News


June 11th, 2024

(For the SoundCloud audio, scroll down)

As the smoke cleared last Saturday and the echoes of gunfire faded, four Israeli hostages stumbled into the blinding light of freedom, dramatically rescued from the clutches of Hamas and their local Gaza collaborators. The Israeli military carried out the mission after weeks of meticulous planning, using cutting-edge intelligence and state-of-the-art technology. The result was a triumph: three hostages in one location and one in another, rescued simultaneously in the type of operation that every Israeli has desperately yearned for since October 7th.

The world watched, breathless, as a nation celebrated the euphoric victory of life over terror. Yet, in the shadow of this victory, an unsettling chorus of condemnation has arisen. Headlines have screamed of a “massacre” of non-combatants who died during the rescue raid. There were even voices demanding to know why Israel had not given any advance warning to civilians in Gaza before saving the hostages. In this high-stakes moral battleground, where the sanctity of life is weighed against the brutal calculus of war, Israel, once again, stands accused.

Contemporary “just war” theory is dominated by two main perspectives: traditionalist and revisionist. Traditionalists, also known as legalists, align themselves with established international law and the recognized norms governing armed conflict. They believe that only states have legitimate authority to engage in war, and that war is acceptable for three main reasons: national defense, defense of other states, or to prevent atrocities that shock the moral conscience of humanity. Civilians must never be targeted intentionally, and combatants are allowed to engage one another, provided that civilian harm is not excessive.

Revisionists, on the other hand, challenge these foundations. They question the moral legitimacy of states and the justification for national defense. According to revisionists, combatants fighting for unjust causes—namely any army fighting on behalf of a sovereign state—cannot morally justify their actions and should cease fighting. Revisionists are the ultimate useful idiots for terrorist organizations and rogue states, who respect no laws and selfishly render violence while always claiming to be victims. If those they have in their crosshairs were to be held back by revisionist ideals, they would not just be fighting with one hand tied behind their backs, but two.

Revisionists fail to acknowledge the real-world complexities faced by nations like Israel – and the hostage rescue is a perfect case in point. Critics argue that Israel’s operation was morally flawed because it failed to consider the potential for collateral damage.

But this perspective ignores the stark reality of the hostages’ lives constantly at risk – and with dozens of hostages already dead at the hands of Hamas, every hour of their incarceration was another step toward their death. If the useful idiots had their way, each hostage, if released by Hamas in a deal, would result in the release of a large number of terrorist prisoners in exchange, opening up the potential for yet more violence against Israel down the road. Think how many lives have been saved by the rescue of these four hostages.

The revisionist ivory-tower stance is rooted in a theoretical purity that is utterly detached from the brutal pressures of real-life conflict. In the midst of war, decisions are seldom black and white. These neo-Marxist pacifists dismiss the legitimacy of national defense – an ideal which may suit them in their blinkered perspective, but it fails to grapple with the dire consequences of inaction.

For Israel, the choice is stark: act decisively to save innocent lives or risk brutal violence against their citizens now and in the future. To criticize harm caused by Israel to enemy civilians without considering the context is self-serving virtue signaling, and offers little practical guidance for states forced to navigate the treacherous waters of modern conflict.

Rav Shaul Yisraeli (1909-1995), one of twentieth-century Israel’s most prominent rabbinic leaders and an esteemed authority in Jewish law, discusses the concept of milchemet mitzvah (obligatory war) in his seminal work Amud HaYemini. This concept encompasses the defense of Israel and its people. A milchemet mitzvah is not only permissible but necessary, says Rav Yisraeli, even if it entails significant risks to the lives of non-combatants and involves difficult military decisions. And according to Rav Yisraeli, “war with any nation threatening Israel is a milchemet mitzvah.”

The ongoing conflict with Hamas, and particularly the rescue of hostages, undoubtedly constitutes a milchemet mitzvah, as it represents an existential struggle for Israel’s survival that is being keenly observed by all of Israel’s adversaries. Which is why the cost of kidnapping Israelis must be high to deter such atrocities in the future. The misfortune of civilian deaths, as in any just war, is the tragic consequence of such a mission, undertaken to prevent far worse outcomes in the future.

In a perfect world, Hamas would not have kidnapped any Israelis, and having done so, would not have embedded them in the heart of a residential neighborhood. But we don’t live in a perfect world, where swords can be beaten into ploughshares, and dealing with heartless enemies is unnecessary. This is the real world, where rescuing innocent civilian hostages from the clutches of evil terrorists is an inescapable reality.

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of the media and international actors who criticize Israel is glaring. They refuse to acknowledge that the hostages were all innocent civilians held by Hamas collaborators in residential neighborhoods, where the likelihood of an Israeli rescue raid was high making civilian casualties inevitable.

Which country wouldn’t want to rescue their citizens? Had these hostages been handed back months ago, this entire war might have long been over. Instead, Israel is blamed for fulfilling its obligation to protect its citizens and doing everything possible to save them from terrorist murderers and rapists. The criticism of Israel not only ignores the realities of the conflict but also unfairly vilifies a nation for its honorable commitment to the safety and security of its people.

Rather than hauling Israel over the coals, isn’t it time for the media and international organizations to start hounding Hamas and their lackeys for generating suffering for Palestinians on a scale not seen since 1948? That’s not on Israel. It’s on Hamas. And until Hamas is gone, the suffering will continue—and likely get worse.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



(For the SoundCloud audio, scroll down) As the smoke cleared last Saturday and the echoes of gunfire faded, four Israeli hostages stumbled into the blinding light of freedom, dramatically rescued... Read More

All Videos