In a controversy that has spread throughout Israel, video has come out of an Israeli sniper shooting a motionless Palestinian man and then celebrating on camera:
Israel’s top defense official praised the sniper who shot a motionless Palestinian near the Gaza fence in a video that circulated widely on Monday, saying he “deserves a medal.”
But Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also told reporters that the soldier who videotaped the shooting and its aftermath — including the sounds of soldiers celebrating — ought to receive a “demerit.”
In a statement, the Israeli Defense Forces said that the clip “depicts a short part of the response to a violent riot,” adding that the military will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the shooting.
The IDF, which claims the man was shot in the leg, said the video’s contents “do not suit the degree of restraint expected of IDF soldiers” and will deal with the commanders “accordingly.”
In the clip, which Israel says was recorded Dec. 22, soldiers appear jubilant after the target goes down, with one saying, “Wow, what a video!”
Lieberman’s comment comes amid ongoing clashes at the Israel-Gaza border, which have left at least 26 Palestinians dead and hundreds more wounded by Israeli fire since late March.
The demonstrations are a new attempt by Hamas to break a crippling, decade-old Gaza border blockade by Israel and Egypt that’s made it increasingly difficult for the Islamic militant group to govern.
The ongoing protests are expected to continue in Gaza in the coming weeks, culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation.
The video, which initially appeared on Israeli television, drew sharp condemnation by Israeli politicians across the political spectrum.
Israeli Arab MP Ayman Odeh tweeted that the footage “horrifies the mind” and suggested that the shooting victim was not a threat.
And the Likud party’s Yehuda Glick called it a “very hard video to watch,” the BBC reported. (source)
It is true that Israel has a lot of stresses to deal with regarding her neighbors and internal conflicts. Indeed, mistakes can and do happen in such tense scenarios, especially when life and death is involved under split-second decisions made under pressure. However, this video is not just an “accident” or one of those cases. This is an outright, cold-blooded murder attempt followed by celebration for committing murder of a man who has absolutely no reason, as far as it has come out, to deserve being shot.
It is good that the Israeli Defense minister has condemned this action, and that many people throughout Israel both in government and among the common people are against it. There was absolutely no reason for this action to have happened.
Imagine for a minute if this was a Palestinian man who did the equivalent to an Israeli. There would be a massive and righteous public outcry, and the USA would have something to say and possibly do about it. However, when Israel does the same to the Palestinians, there is absolute silence and as the article notes, some people may even call for an award for the person who did the crime because they would deny the humanity of the person who was murdered.
Years ago, the infamous Rabbi Dov Lior, Chairman of the Jewish Rabbinical Council, issued a religious edict supporting Baruch Goldstein, and orthodox American Jew who murdered 29 Muslims in a mosque out of no reason other than hatred. Lior said that not only was Goldstein correct, but that the prohibitions against murder did not apply to Muslims because Muslims were not human and that a thousand non-Jewish lives were worth less than the fingernail of a single Jew:
Rabbi Dov Lior, Chairman of the Jewish Rabbinical Council, was quoted as saying “during warfare, killing non-Jewish civilians is permitted if it saves Jewish lives”.
According to Lior’s ruling, which was made public on Wednesday, Israeli occupation troops in Gaza are allowed to kill and harm “so-called innocent civilians” during warfare.
“The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them. This is the real moral behind Israel’s Torah and we must not feel guilty due to foreign morals,” the Ma’ariv Israeli newspaper quoted him as saying.
He added that Jewish lives were more important than non-Jewish lives.
Rabbi Lior is considered among the most learned sages of the Torah.
“Without any doubt, he is among the most learned scholars of the Torah, but he is viewed as an extremist among some liberal sectors,” said Rabbi Menachem Froman from the Tku’ settlement near Bethlehem.
Froman said he did not agree with Lior’s views, calling them controversial.
“I believe that Judaism is against killing innocent people. One of the main commandments of the Torah is ‘thou shall not murder.'”
However, after speaking to many rabbis, it is clear that Lior’s views and interpretation of Jewish Law enjoy far more popularity and acceptance than Froman’s relatively dovish interpretations.
The basic point of disagreement concerns whether Biblical injunctions apply equally to Jews and non-Jews.
Lior, like most of the rabbis of the Gush Emunim settler movement, believes that Biblical commandments such as “thou shall not murder” refer only to “Jews” since the Torah was given to Jews, not Gentiles.
This view, however, is rejected to varying degrees by the two main unorthodox Jewish sects – the Conservatives and the Reformists – who constitute a numerical majority of Jews outside Israel, especially in North America.
Dov Lior is considered a champion rabbi among settlers. In 1994, he strongly supported the murder by an American immigrant settler, Baruch Goldstein, of 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque.
Lior then issued a religious edict, saying, “a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail”.
Lior praised Goldstein, calling him a “great saint and rabbi … may his memory be blessed”.
Several months after the massacre, Lior told disciples in Kiryat Araba near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron “Jewish blood was redder than non-Jewish blood … and that a Jewish life is preferred by the Lord than a non-Jewish life”. (source)
We at Shoebat.com recently documented too how in Israel, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi for Israel Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef- the equivalent of the Pope for the Sephardim- said that Africans are monkeys and that people should not pray for them unless their parents were white, and when asked to apologize he refused on the basis that the Talmud supports him.
One of the great controversies discussed in the Bible is the “race” question, and how does a man reconcile his creation in light of the differences with other men. This is not a flippant question or a “racist” one, but a serious one, because it addresses how a man defines himself in relationship to the world. Ultimately, the discussion can be reduced to one of two options. The first is that the natural differences between men are reflections of the inherent superiority or inferiority of other men. The second is that the differences are real and exist but do not reflect superiority or inferiority because all have the same dignity.
During Jesus’ time, the Sadducees and the Pharisees were of the first camp, with the division being that the Sadducees saw the superiority as coming from purely natural sources since there was no life after death, and the Pharisees said it was because God’s blessing was just for the Jewish people. In a modern context, the Sadducees were darwinists, and the Pharisees were in the same camp as Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.
The Essines, on the other hand, were of the second camp. They said that the value of a man comes from the grace of God, and that God does not favor race, but he who desired to receive His grace and then seeks to live a life in accordance with the will of God. This is was the position that Jesus espoused and which incurred the wrath of the Pharisees and Sadducees up to the point of putting Him to death in the name of placing nation, race, and identity over the grace of God.
The Bible has the answer to racism and all forms of supremacy. That answer is the man is made in the image and likeness of God, and if you have not read Ted’s special on race and the Bible, you need to read it here.
It is true that in the situation with the murder on video in Israel, there may be more to the story. However, the reaction of the soldier to murdering the other man was simply inhuman. Likewise, it is important to emphasize this is not a simply “Jewish” issue, but can be found in all people’s across the world just as much today as it was in the time of Christ. For another example, one only needs to look at the war in Iraq where video was discovered of US soldiers laughing while murdering Iraqi civilians by helicopter on video:
Human evil is not limited to any one particular group because sin knows no partiality. The Catholic Faith clearly emphasizes that all men are created in God’s image and likeness, and that while men sometimes must fight, one must do so with mercy and justice, for anything otherwise would be unloving.
Just as God is absolute truth and His laws are timeless just like He, morality does not change from group to group. Evil is evil no matter who does it, and God does not give one set of rules to one group of people but another set to the rest. To make such an argument is as ridiculous as it would be to argue that the laws of nature apply to one group of people but not to another.
One must always be careful of giving out criticism, lest he receive it back in due measure. However, one must also criticize out of love and care for one’s neighbor, and it does not matter who the individual or group is, for no man is exempt from adherence to the laws of God and being either the recipient of His mercy or of His justice.