Mar 14, 2016

Interesting Psak: killing terrorists

Rav Yitzchak Yosef, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, has issued an interesting psak the other day that has caused quite a stir in the media.

Rav Yosef said that if a terrorist is coming after you with a knife, you have a mitzva to kill him (or her), and you need not be concerned or afraid with what the IDF Chief of Staff or the Supreme Court might say about it. One who is coming to kill you - get up early to kill him first. As well, Rav Yosef continued, this will also deter future attacks.

Rav Yosef then qualified his statement by saying that this is only as long as the terrorist is coming after you with a knife. As soon as the terrorist is neutralized and no longer has the knife, you must stop. This terrorist should then be given a life sentence in jail, and when mashiach comes and identifies who is amalek, we can then kill him (i.e. assuming mashiach identifies him as amalek)
sources: Kikar and Israel Hayom

Much of the press have only quoted the first part of the statement, and left out the second part, of not killing him once he no longer has the knife.

The psak itself does not seem revolutionary to me, nor does it even seem to be anything more than common sense and basic morals. If he is coming after you with a knife, kill him. If he is neutralized, lock him up.

It did cause quite a stir though and people, politicians mostly, criticized Rav Yosef for this statement. It seems that they think he is not allowed to have an opinion. Some even said that he should not talk about such things as he never served in the army. I might add that plenty of politicians, including at least some that have criticized Rav Yosef, who are not religious have felt free to weigh in on religious affairs and legislate religion. If nobody in Israel would talk about things they do not personally have experience in, we would not even have a country!

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