Rabbi Lior's Arrest

Rabbi Lior’s arrest was much more than a travesty of free speech. The reason for the arrest made no sense at all.

David Rubin

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David Rubin
David Rubin

There has been much commotion over the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior by the police, with many rightly referring to it as an infringement of free speech.

His crime? He endorsed a book entitled Torat Hamelech, authored by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, which says that it is permissible to kill civilian non-Jews in certain situations during wartime.

If we are truly a democratic, free society, and a scholarly one at that, I think we need to seriously examine the issues at hand – not just the blatant curtailing of freedom of speech, which in and of itself is highly problematic - but to examine the specific content of this “controversial” work, which has so enraged some police commanders (and those who give them their marching orders).

Let us ask the seemingly forbidden question: Could it be that perhaps both the authors and the endorsers are correct in their analysis of the need for certain actions to defend freedom in wartime?

Is it possible that Israel is not the only nation with that particular need for self-preservation?

The authors were referring specifically to Israel’s defense, and therefore, they referred to “non-Jewish” civilians as a term for enemy civilians. Notable parallels can be drawn in major global conflicts for the cause of freedom, when civilians have been killed, and not accidentally.

There have been many instances throughout history in which righteous nations fought against tyranny and enemy civilians were killed in the process. The most glaring example was WWII, when the allied forces bombed the heavily populated German cities of Berlin and Dresden, knowing that many innocent civilians would be killed. Approximately 300,000 civilians were actually killed in these air raids.

Was this a crime? Was this perceived as a violation of German human rights?  Certainly not! It was understood by the Allies that this was an effective tool in an overall strategy to defeat the enemy.

And I haven't even mentioned Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

In a time of war, it is certainly permissible. There was not even massive dropping of leaflets as in Gaza, warning the “innocent civilians” that the American, French, Russian, or British pilots would soon be attacking, and thereby ruining the element of surprise, so vital in wartime.

It was clearly understood that in wartime, enemy civilians would be hurt, and not necessariy accidentally, thereby preserving the lives of the valiant soldiers who were fighting on the right side of this most moral battle.

We Jews need to put an end to our self-immolation, as our enemies cynically hide behind civilians, no doubt amused by our unwarranted guilt. Enemies deserve to be defeated, and defeated handily.

The “peaceful” Palestinian civilians, who elected the Hamas and Fatah terrorist organizations as their leadership, deserve no more sympathy than the German civilians of Berlin and Dresden.  In our next war, we should act accordingly.

I applaud Rabbi Lior for standing firm for the right to express his opinion about such an important national issue. Let us learn from historical precedent and be no less vigilant in defending our nation against Islamic tyranny --- and to boldly express our opinions without fear of the genie of “political correctness”.