Yonatan Raza’el visited the Frankel family, after the murder of their son, Naftali. Naftali’s mother confided: “Yonatan, you may not know this, but all we have to say now is “I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant.” A reference to the bible and to his song: Katonti – I am unworthy.
The commander of the IDF Givati Brigade wrote in biblical passion to his soldiers of our fight against “Gazan terrorists”. His words and rhetoric were met with a great deal of controversy.
Some voices asked:
- Does Vinter’s language suggest our conflict with the Palestinians is the extension of a religious war rooted in the Bible, and not an example of a State defending itself against a terror organization?
- Do we wish for the soldiers of the IDF to see their battle as religious?
- What should be the rhetorical tone of our wartime statements?
- How do our Jewish sources refer to war, and to this particular piece of land now called the Gaza Strip?
Vinter’s comment was not without current or biblical context. Controversy in the Bnei Akiva movement also raged recently after the three kidnapped youths were found murdered, when the Secretary General Rabbi Rabbi Noam Perel wrote on his facebook that: “An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge,” and specifically referred to how the Israeli “army of avengers” should not to stop at “300 Philistine foreskins.”
How does Biblical Gaza echo in our conversations about current Gaza?
How do mythical references to Philistines connect with Palestinians of today?
We invite you to dig into the biblical echoes of this piece of land.
Before even beginning to talk about Israel, it’s worth checking some basic assumptions.
Here is an easy one.
If someone put a gun to your head and told you to hand over your iPhone or they’d shoot, we’re guessing you would rush to say goodbye to instagram.
We reckon you might not even put up a fight to save your car, if the fight meant risking your life.
How about your house?
Is there anything, or anyone, for whom you would risk your life?
Or in Tom Petty’s words:
Well I know what’s right,
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground, and I won’t back down
Is there anything you “won’t back down” from?
It’s a question worth asking before condemning warfare out of hand: