Vengeance Is Mine

There have been calls for the death penalty to be instituted in Israel. Terrorists once dead, can’t be used as political pawns. The desire for the death penalty is understandable after the events of the past week or so. But I would like to suggest that Israel never condone the death penalty.

I never want to be associated in any way with murderous tribal societies. I don’t want to be dragged down into the abyss of barbarianism brought to us by Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, et al; the hell-hole out of which we pulled ourselves more than 3500 years ago when we were given ethical monotheism and took those laws of civility out of the desert into the world. We, all of us, for we were all present at Mount Sinai, were told to be a “light unto the nations.”

I want nothing to do with barbarians whose idea of justice: “eye for an eye,” really means blood vengeance. Their backward honour/shame culture has led them to sacrifice their own daughters and wives on the altar of shame, most often committed by their men, and then murder those who “insult” the Prophet with words or pictures. And if they can’t bludgeon you to death, they’ll put out a fatwa. I don’t want to be associated with monsters who decapitate innocent human beings and take pleasure posting it on YouTube. I want nothing to do with beasts who blow themselves up in the midst of innocent civilians.

We have every right to judge these monsters as unfit for living amongst us. Canada no longer has a death penalty. For a very long time, I believed in the death penalty for people whose crimes were so perverse they had no right to breathe the same air as me. And then it came to me that I am lowering myself into the same sewer as those who commit these horrific offenses.

In the Bible we were told to provide cities of refuge for those who committed murder. I believe we were given that instruction so that we would not slide back into barbarity, taking lives, for there is but a thin veneer of civility over the animal instincts within us. That veneer comes to us from the Torah, the Tanach, the laws by which one lives in community. Christians believe in original sin; that we are born evil. The Rabbi’s said, well we don’t know if we are born good or evil, but evil seems to be much closer to the surface so each goodness to be on the safe side. The Tanach.

Yes, judge the monsters as evil, but leave the final judgement to God. We must remind ourselves that God told us: “Vengeance is mine” in order to protect us from becoming tribal monsters.

We must not let these thugs distract us from the most important mission-a thriving democratic Israel. And this takes much more work to accomplish than other democracies. Israel is the only democracy surrounded by failing countries whose primary focus is the destruction of Israel, not the construction of a county concerned about the well-being of all its citizens. And the only democracy that is constantly under threat from other democracies while they turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed elsewhere.

Like the name of Amalek, we must remember to forget the murderous terrorists. But we must never forget the names of the loved ones who were murdered by these barbarians for the crime of being Jewish.

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "