Treating Jewish Terrorists Like Terrorists

There was a time I would have said that no Jew would ever commit the kind of heinous crimes committed by Arab terrorists who commit them with the righteous cry of ‘God is Great’. But that is no longer the case. There are now more than a few instances of heinous crimes committed by not only Jews, but religious Jews that rival what they do. That they are far fewer in number does not mitigate the fact that it was done by religious Jews for what they believed were righteous reasons.

Just to name three such acts: Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s mass murder of Muslims praying at Ma’aras HaMachpela, the brutal torture murder ofMohammed Abu Khudair, an innocent Palestinian boy that was kidnapped, set fire while still alive and burned to death, and the firebombing of a Palestinian home in the village of Duma on the West Bank while the family slept inside of it. Their baby died in that fire immediately – as did his parents eventually.

Are these ‘righteous acts’ of revenge all that different than the righteous acts of an Arab terrorist? I don’t see that much difference. Both claim to be doing it for God.

There are of course the deniers among us. Those that say Baruch Goldstein was a martyr who had overheard Muslims planning an attack against Jews on Purim. Had he not acted, there would have been a massacre.

And deniers that say in the case of Mohammed Abu Khudair – the perpetrator was deranged;  and in the most recent case in Duma – it was likely done by Palestinians themselves just so they could blame it on the Jews.

What a disgusting attitude!

Well it seems the Jewish monsters of this most recent atrocity were arrested and are now in custody. They have been harshly interrogated by one of Israel’s security services, the Shin Bet in order to extract vital information. Like finding out if anyone else was involved; who the ring leaders may be; and if there are any future terrorist operations like this being planned.

The Shin Bet has been accused of torturing these ‘religious’ Jews. Which is against Israeli law. It is the pro- settler movement that is protesting and crying the loudest. It seems that Shin Bet head, Yoram Cohen has been threatened and has been provided with extra security.

Of course to these protestors, when Palestinian terrorists are tortured, that’s OK. But these righteous Jews? Whose side is the Shin Bet on anyway?

Hopefully on the side of justice!

First let me say that I am not a fan of torturing anyone – unless there is a ‘ticking time bomb’ situation where information obtained will save innocent lives. Although many experts say this type of interrogation does not work, I’m not so sure about that. And on the possibility that it does, it should be tried if lives can be saved.

I don’t think this is the case here, though. So torturing them would be immoral. The Shin Bet has denied doing it.  Although they have admitted using harsh techniques they claim to have been within legal guidelines.

I for one am not going to second guess them here. I will trust the legal system in Israel to find out the truth. But I can’t say that I have any mercy on those suspects if they are the ones who committed this heinous crime. They are vicious criminals despite their Jewish blood or how long their peyos may be. Israel has an obligation to treat them no differently than any Arab terrorists that did the same thing. I think that is what is happening here.

If these suspects are eventually tried and convicted, they ought to have the book thrown at them without a trace of mercy. A life sentence without the possibility of parole seems like the best possible outcome for a country that does not have the death penalty. They deserve the same mercy they gave that Palestinian family they torched to death. They will not have the same outcome though. They will get to live.

It behooves Israel’s security establishment to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again.  Throwing the book at them is a good start. Let these people know that they will not get away with it. If they do it again, they will be hunted down and treated like the dogs they are.

It should not go unnoticed that many Religious Zionist leaders have condemned these radicals. From a Forward op-ed:

A group of 47 moderate rabbis, led by David Stav of the Tzohar organization and the American-born Shlomo Riskin, issued a public letter (English summaryHebrew text) December 25 supporting the agency and condemning the radicals.

It should also not go unnoticed that the head of the Shin Bet is Yoram Cohen, an Orthodox Jew. As are other heads of Israel’s security agencies. More from the Forward:

Whatever its circumstances, Cohen’s promotion made history at the time. He was the first Orthodox Jew to head any major Israeli security agency. But that was then. Today, just four years later, Orthodox Jews head not only the Shin Bet but also Israel’s national police and the powerful intelligence directorate of Israel’s military. Another is set to take over the Mossad foreign intelligence agency in January.


Yet another has been named attorney general, an independent office that doubles as both head of the state prosecution and government legal adviser.

For this we can thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He chose from the ranks of the religious Zionist right that generally supports his political views. I am happy to see that – despite their similar religious perspectives – Relgious Zionist officials like Yoram Cohen are treating these people like the terrorists they are. Same as they would Arab terrorists.  God bless them. They are doing the right thing.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.