Thursday, March 26, 2009


On top of recent reports alleging that IDF soldiers are admitting to killing Gazan civilians in cold blood, we now see this:
In testimony reported by Israeli news media and in interviews with The Times, Gaza veterans said rabbis advised army units to show the enemy no mercy and called for resettlement of the Palestinian enclave by Jews.

“The rabbis were all over, in every unit,” said Yehuda Shaul, a retired army officer whose human rights group, Breaking the Silence, has taken testimony from dozens of Gaza veterans. “It was quite well organized.”

The army, which conscripts almost every Israeli Jew at 18, has been dominated for most of its history by secular officers. But over the last 15 years, as secular Israelis have soured on the occupation of Palestinian territory, religious nationalists have taken over senior positions in elite combat brigades.

With them have come hundreds of volunteer rabbis, who teach at pre-military academies for religious youths and serve side by side with the troops. * * *

“This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,” a reserve sergeant said, recalling a training camp encounter. “His message was clear: ‘This is a war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.’ The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic.”
(Via Yglesias.) These stories are apparently being propagated by a left-wing outfit in Israel -- as I understand it, the IDF is a draft force, so Israeli Jews of all political stripes are in its ranks. So it's possible to throw up one's hands and ask, "whom do I believe?" But if this stuff did in fact happen, I wouldn't exactly expect to hear about it in a Netanyahu speech, either. And the Old Testament is rich in genocidal precedents.

(Note the Essene quality of the "light v. darkness" motif.)

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