Justifying Death of Innocents with Halakha (Jewish Law)
Professor Geoffrey Alderman to Rabbi David J Goldberg:
The Halachah is crystal clear. It is entirely legitimate to kill a rodef – that is to say, one who endangers the life of another – and this is true, incidentally, even if the rodef has not yet actually taken another life. So the Judaism that I practise permits what is generally referred to as “pre-emptive” military action.
Rabbi David J Goldberg to Professor Geoffrey Alderman:
I have no argument with your explanation about the status of the rodef in Jewish law (the Halachah) and the permissibility of taking pre-emptive action against him, except to add that the biblical law should be viewed in the context of a desert society and blood feuds between individuals and clans. That is why I disagree with your contention that in the context of modern Gaza this can be extended to include every member and supporter of Hamas – about 1 million people according to the election results. Or would you advise every innocent civilian and child to wear a large placard visible to Israeli jets proclaiming “Don’t blame me, I voted for Fatah”?
One commentator said:
Makes me glad that I am an atheist and I know why this is wrong.