The IDF’s Moral Code is the highest in the world but misses one point
In stark contrast with the Antisemitic myths about the army of the Jewish State being cruel, in reality, the Moral Code of Behavior for the Israel Defense Force is the highest in the world, no exaggeration! Four examples:
1. If someone threatens to throw a rock and refuses to put it down, a soldier is allowed to shoot in self-defense. But as soon as the rock has left his hand, is still flying through the air, even before wounding someone, it is forbidden to shoot him since the danger from that person has gone.
2. Terrorists who use their own civilians as human shields, generally will not be attacked to spare the civilians. It’s not a rule but adhered to as if.
3. Jewish Law already dictates for millennia, if someone sets out to kill you, you kill him first; no pretense of turning the other cheek which in practice left a trail of blood throughout history. Not stopping the cruel is cruel.
4. Immoral orders must always be disobeyed.
Last week, another young soldier died during a heatwave exercise. Six of his fellow soldiers got dehydrated in it but didn’t die. Lessons seem not learned from previous cases. This signals a deficit in the IDF’s Moral Code.
A new addition to supplement the Code must be like this:
Immoral orders must always be disobeyed, also if ‘only’ the commanded soldier himself/herself could get hurt for no reason at all.
The Sages ask rhetorically: If you’re not for yourself, who else then should be for you?
There may be a confusing overlap between going for broke in sport or war, and endangering your health. Even so, soldiers must guard their limits. Every human being knows their own body as no one else, the Rabbis rule. If you think a command is endangering your health you must disobey it.
There must be a difference between willingly going beyond your limits and being afraid to die, and going so far that your life is in danger. And, when in doubt, cut it out. Only during real hostilities, one could risk one’s life. But not during an exercise. The IDF also doesn’t shoot soldiers during exercises to make it more realistic.