Rabbi Eliezer Melamed
The writer is Head of Yeshivat Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish Law, whose works include the series on Jewish law "Pininei Halacha" and a popular weekly column "Revivim" in the Besheva newspaper. His books "The Laws of Prayer" "The Laws of Passover" and "Nation, Land, Army" are presently being translated into English. Other articles by Rabbi Melamed can be viewed at: www.yhb.org.il/1
The murder of the holy Jews in Paris merely because they were Jews, raises the need to relate to the social and religious circumstances which cause these horrific attacks.
The Growing Tension between the West and Muslims
There was nothing new about the terrorist attacks in France other than their location, in the of Europe - Paris. For years, Muslim terrorists have murdered hundreds and thousands of people every month. They murder members of other religions, and even members of rival factions in Islam. The amount of murdered people is steadily increasing, and is spreading to other countries.
Nevertheless, leaders of the powerful countries in the West, despite the shock, continue business as usual. They believe these are simply frustrated, unemployed and emotionally disturbed people, or an "people” demanding its "rights" from the Jews who conquered their homeland. They ignore the sheer hatred that the Muslims openly express - towards the West in general, and Israel in particular.
Criticism of the West and its “Experts”
The “experts” in Western countries believe that the entire world desires to emulate them. And if there are those who do not, it is only because they are still unenlightened.; as they develop, they will inevitably move towards the Western approach, according to which all people desire freedom, material prosperity, and the independence to practice religion or other leisurely pursuits.
The technological and economic advantages achieved by Western “experts” (in no small part thanks to the significant contributions of Jews), make it difficult for them to understand man’s deep longing for a life filled with meaning and idealism based on faith. The plethora of luxuries creates a smoke-screen which blinds them from seeing the fiery flames burning in the depths of the human soul and mind, which can explode in a negative direction of fanaticism, destruction and hatred, or in contrast - in a positive path of faith, productivity and change for the better.
As a result, they find it difficult to understand the motives of their enemies and rivals. No less severe, they also fail to analyze the roots of the crises befalling their countries, which are reflected in the loss of identity, the breakdown of the family, and the serious difficulties in educating children.
The Religion of Islam
The source of this stems from the religious Islamic perception which views God as an omnipotent conqueror, to whom everyone must submit and whose absolute authority must be accepted.
Out of the five major precepts of Islam, four of them deal directly with the honor of God and submission to him:
1) declaration of faith in him.
2) praying to him five times a day, mostly involving kneeling and reciting seven verses 17 times praising Allah and accepting his lordship.
3) The Ramadan fast.
4) Pilgrimage to Mecca.
The fifth precept is giving charity to the poor, which also expresses the idea that money belongs to Allah, and not man.
Even praise and thanks to Allah are performed out of feelings of total submission.
Islam’s Influence on Inter-Personal Relations
This approach extends to all interpersonal relationships which are based on honor. A wife must respect her husband, and a husband is obligated to take care of, support, and protect his wife – this being his honor. Needless to say, children are also required to honor their parents. Interpersonal relationships as well are based on great respect, emitting a sense of noble generosity, which allows for hospitality and brotherhood.
Since honor is so important, offending a Muslim is intolerable because it undermines the very foundation of his existence, and therefore he is obligated to respond with extreme severity, giving rise to the familiar and horrifying phenomenon of “family-honor killings.”
Force and control are vital to Islam, and as a result, a ruler who is not perceived as strong and even cruel is incapable of surviving in Muslim society. Consequently, the democratic system is incapable of providing stability for Islamic countries. For them, the ideal system of government is an authoritarian rule which protects and grants honor to all its subjects, similar to a compassionate father who cares for the welfare of his children.
Islam – A Religion of War
Islam has positive aspects, but our focus here is on the negative ones.
After the five major precepts of Islam, the next most important precept is jihad.
Those faithful to Allah must model themselves after him, follow his ways, act courageously as he did, and forcibly subdue those who do not succumb to his authority. “Muhammad lives by the sword!”
Power and the sword play a central role in the Muslim religion. They emphasize the tangible strength of the religion, enhancing the greatness and honor of Allah by imposing his beliefs on all mankind. Even the calls to prayer over loudspeakers by the muezzin day and night are an expression of imposing the religion over wide-open spaces, both towards the believers themselves, and towards others.
It is no coincidence that the Arabs have succeeded in imposing Islam on many nations, to the point where today the religion has approximately 1,400,000,000 followers.
Islam’s code is directed towards a steadfast war to impose Muhammad’s religion on the entire world by means of the sword. To achieve this goal, everything is legitimate. The nations they conquered realized this, and opted to convert to Islam rather than die.
, all nations attained their achievements through wars and victories, however in Islam, unlike other cultures, the principle of compromise is intolerable – especially a territorial compromise. Compromise is an expression of weakness, and a Muslim is obligated to symbolize the heroism and strength of Allah, and must always clutch his sword to be prepared for the battle of imposing the religion on the entire world.
When a Muslim realizes he lacks the power to defeat his enemy, he is permitted to agree to a cease-fire (‘tahadiya’ in Arabic), while actually preparing for the continuation of the religious war. Such thinking is based on the behavior of Islam's prophet Muhammad, especially towards the tribe of Quraysh.
How to Deal with the Islamic Threat
The only way to absolve a Muslim from his duty to wage war is to create a situation in which he is totally coerced, so he lacks the ability or prospect of succeeding. Only then, according to Muslim law, is he exempt from the necessity to wage war. At that time he is obliged to wait for years, or even generations, certain that when the opportunity arises, he will return to wage war.
Conversely, any attempt to compromise with Islam will inevitably lead to continued terrorism and war, because compromise is perceived as a weakness, for according to Islamic culture, if the Western countries had the power to defeat them they wouldn’t possibly be seeking a compromise. Seeking a compromise can only mean that they find it difficult to face the heroic attacks of Allah’s faithful, the glorious martyrs, and hence, their downfall is close at hand.
The same is true regarding Israel – any attempt at compromise or presenting a “political horizon”, instills hope within the Arabs that they can defeat us, and encourages terrorism and war.
Anyone who desires peaceful and quiet relations with Muslims must first defeat them and avoid any talk of peace, and then strive for a stable ceasefire while managing a viable relationship.
The Detrimental Social-Welfare Policy
As a follow up to the issue I dealt with in previous articles, even the conventional social welfare policies of Western countries are perceived by Islamic followers as a weakness, and weakness which promotes militancy.
According to their beliefs, Christians who do not accept the religion of Islam must pay a high to the Muslim rulers – a tax which among other things is meant to express the superiority of Islam.
Consequently, many Muslims have no gratitude for the child benefits and welfare payments they receive in Western countries, because obviously, they are superior to all
Christians and entitled to receive taxes from them. This is the religious justification for demanding increases in benefits, and for the indignation when they are reduced.
Leftist Policies Create Ingrates
All this is in addition to the basic problem, namely, that the position of the political left, which maintains the state must provide for the welfare of all its citizens, corrupts the morality of welfare recipients, in that it makes them ungrateful.
The punishment imposed upon Adam requiring him to work hard for a living corrects his sin and transforms him into a positive person who understands the value of work and creativity.By means of his responsibility and industriousness in earning a living, he becomes a partner with God in tikun olam (the improvement of society).
In contrast, when child benefits and welfare payments enable many members of Muslim society living in France to maintain a higher standard of living than in their countries of origin without any effort or responsibility, they become exploiters and ingrates.
The Crisis in Islam
Throughout the world Islam is in a state of crisis, frustration, and decline. This is reflected in a huge drop in the birthrate.
Terrorism represents an attempt to escape the crisis, and efforts by the West for reconciliation and compromise add fuel to the fires.
In any event, in leading countries such as Iran and Turkey, the population has been shrinking because the average woman gives birth to less than two children. Western countries are the only places where the Muslim population has increased – thanks to the child allowances.
The same thing happened in Israel when child allowances were particularly high, and happens today, to a lesser extent, with other benefits.
An example of blatant foolishness in Israel is the granting of a 1,500 shekel benefit for each child of a divorced woman if the courts rule that the father of her children is unable to pay child support. As a result, the State of Israel is encouraging polygamy in the Arab and Bedouin sectors, because their husbands divorce them fictitiously in order to live off the increased allowances for their children and their supposedly divorced wives, recognized by the State as being single mothers.
This money, of course, returns to the honorable husband, who, thanks to the State of Israel's foolishness, is able to maintain an exploitative Muslim lifestyle l’mehadrin. We are left only to thank him for taking the money and not taking part in terrorist attacks!
After the horrendous murders Europeans wreaked for centuries in the name of nationalism and religion, particularly towards the Jews, many champions of morality in Europe today are prone to lean to the other extreme – to the left, which advocates for complete equality of rights.
And once again, lo and behold, they accuse the Jews.
Their deep-rooted anti-Semitism returns and reveals itself once again. If Europe wishes to repent, it must truly regret hate crimes against Jews, and acknowledge the Jewish nation's contributions to humanity.
Christians must also cloak themselves in humility and gratitude towards Judaism. Only such a tikun will make them truly moral.
This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew.