This past weekend ushered in a New Year in the Jewish Calendar: 5764. It also brought in another testament to the durability of the Jewish people.
It is very often argued that the survival of Judaism is the result of resilience, faith and ingenuity. All of that is true. But more than that is another very rarely discussed strength common to the culture of the Jewish People. HUMANITY!
It is in our earliest recollection as children, that we are OBLIGATED to do MITZVAHS which are best described as unsolicited acts of kindness. We are also taught the most important word in the world: RACHMONUS. It literally means mercy or pity. Such as: have mercy on that poor soul.
When you combine these two words – MITZVAH and RACHMONUS, you have a good idea of the humanitarian foundation of the Jewish people.
At no time did this Jewish philosophy demonstrate itself more than this past week, when 27 Israeli reserve military pilots publicly refused to fly combat missions against TERRORISTS hiding amongst “innocent” civilians.
They outwardly refused to participate in a military action that would cause harm to non combatants.
What is interesting in the Jewish military is a little known fact regarding the rules of engagement vis a vis obeying, or in this case disobeying orders. Israeli soldiers of all description are allowed by law to disobey direct orders if those orders are morally flawed.
In other words; no Israeli soldier can be compelled by a superior officer to commit an act of genocide, or an act that violates the rights of prisoners or civilians.
Conscientious objections in the Jewish military is part of the Jewish tradition of humanity. Unlike the murderers in Nazi Europe whose greatest defense was: “I was just following orders”. In Israel this is not a defense.
No one will ever question the bravery and skills of the Israeli fighting forces, especially its pilots who have repeatedly faced overwhelming odds with panache and success.
One can only conclude that this act of refusing to carry out their missions has nothing whatsoever to do with cowardice or defiance. But has everything to do with Rachmonus.
It’s too bad that the world’s major news media can not seem to understand this.
To the CBC’s, BBC’s, and CNN’s of this world, the pilots combined refusal to attack where civilians will probably be harmed is a refutation of Israel’s military policies concerning Israel’s fight against TERRORISM.
But in reality, the refusal of the pilots says more about Israel’s philosophy of humanity than anything else. It is the fact that Israel’s most skilled warriors refuse to break the most important principle of modern Judaism.
THAT IS THE REAL STORY the international media prefer to ignore.
Under “normal” circumstances, these pilots would fight like there is no tomorrow. And for Israel, like there is no tomorrow is always true. But not in this case.
The greatest weapon in the arsenal of the TERRORISTS, the Palestinians who don’t want peace, and the Arab world which aids and abets both of the aforementioned is that Israel is NOTHING like its neighbors who have no concept of RACHMONUS.
If Israel held the same humanitarian values as their neighbors, the strife in the Middle East would have come to an end in 1967. Instead of stopping short of Damascus, Amman, and Cairo, Israel would have wiped them out.
In 1973, when Israel nearly fell as a result of the sneak attack on Yom Kippur; instead of just retaking the Golan Hills and encircling the Egyptian 3rd army, Israel would have wiped out the Egyptians and steamrolled onto Damascus leaving a wake of death and destruction in its path. But it didn’t.
If the roles were reversed, and the Palestinians had the enormous military power which Israel has, there would be a second Holocaust. The Arabs would literally wipe the Jewish people off the face of the Middle Eastern map and be true to their pledge to drive the Jews into the sea.
But in reality, the Palestinians are absolutely defenceless against the might of Israel’s military.
If Israel wants to end this Palestinian nonsense, it could drive out the Palestinians from all of Greater Israel including the West Bank and Gaza in less time than it would take to write about it.
So why doesn’t Israel just do it?
It will be argued that Israel won’t do it because of world opinion. But in reality, the 27 Israeli pilots have given us the answer. It is simply not the Jewish way.
It’s nice to know that after 5764 years, the Jewish people are true to their teachings, and have not forgotten the principles of doing a Mitzvah or having Rachmonus.
Lucky for the Arabs.