Rabbi Stav

Rabbis Differ on Treatment of Neutralized Terrorists

The recent terror attacks by Palestinians have spurred debate among Israelis about how to treat terrorists who have already been subdued. Is deadly force against a terrorist permitted if he or she is no longer a threat? How about non deadly violence, like beating?

Three major Israeli Zionist rabbinic leaders have offered rulings on the issue.

Rabbi David Stav (pictured above), the Chief Rabbi of Shoham and head of the Tzohar rabbinic organization, has ruled that it is NOT permitted to harm a terrorist who is subdued and poses no further threat. R. Stav said that the primary reason for his decision is so that Jews do not damage their moral compass and sink to the level of the terrorists. He also thinks that photos of Jews beating subdued terrorists will damage Israel’s standing in the world community. R. Stav said, “even though the terrorists deserve it, it is not our way.”

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the head of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, agreed that civilians must not take action against subdued terrorist who are no longer a threat. He is, however, in favor of the death penalty for terrorists, as long as it is administered by the court. He believes that prison is not a sufficient deterrent.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

On the other side of the debate Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, ruled last week that “it is forbidden to leave a terrorist alive after he has committed a terror attack. If he’s left alive there’s a possibility that he will go free and kill more people.” He said that only in special situations where shooting the terrorist could cause explosives to detonate or if they need to interrogate him can he be taken alive.

R. Eliyahu went so far as to demand a special investigation into the circumstances which lead to terrorists being taken alive to determine if the security forces had been negligent in their duties.

For further reading: http://news.walla.co.il/item/2897134

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