Tuesday June 02, 2009 11:29 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News
Hasidic Jewish Rabbi Manis Friedman, from St. Paul, Minnesota, has issued a statement that Israel should destroy Palestinian holy sites and kill civilians in what he calls “the Jewish way” to fight a “moral war”.
The statement was printed in response to the question “How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” in the May/June edition of the Jewish magazine 'Moment', in a section titled 'Ask the Rabbis'. The magazine printed responses from nine different rabbis, each representing a different school of Jewish thought. The rabbis surveyed included Independent, Humanist, Reform, Modern Orthodox, Renewal, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Sephardic and Chabad.
Rabbi Friedman represented the Chabad section of the article. His full statement was as follows:
“I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).”
“The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. First, the Arabs will stop using children as shields. Second, they will stop taking hostages knowing that we will not be intimidated. Third, with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side. Result: no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war.”“Zero tolerance for stone throwing, for rockets, for kidnapping will mean that the state has achieved sovereignty. Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention.”
Friedman's statement was countered by that of Rabbi Fred Schindler Dodd, from Maryland, who said in his response to the question “How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” by saying, “My least-proud-to-be-Jewish moment was witnessing hundreds of kippah-clad Jerusalem protesters chant, mavet l’Aravim (“death to Arabs”). But acts of reconciliation and coexistence, proud moments, abound, too. May we tip the scales toward coexistence, justice and peace for all who inhabit the Holy Land and this holy Earth.”