'The sons of light' against 'The sons of darkness.' Israel's HOLY WAR
Below is first hand testimony by an IDF soldier about their recent HOLY WAR in Gaza:
We were in Tze'elim and began maneuvers to prepare for our entry into the
Gaza Strip. We were actually going through various exercises for our specific
assignments. In this framework, regarding what we're talking about – the army
rabbinate – two things happened in our contact with them at the time. The
first was the distribution of pamphlets, an indirect sort of contact. It's the kind
of pamphlet that is distributed in military synagogues, or pages of the weekly
reading that is also distributed at military synagogues, containing rather explicit
political contents. Like writing, for example, that the Palestinians are like the
Philistines of old, newcomers who do not belong in the land, aliens planted on
our soil which should clearly return to us. There were also these acronyms of the
name of the Jewish settlement Netzarim that should be rebuilt.
What were these pages, exactly?
There are flyers containing the weekly religious reading that are very similar to
all kinds of military pamphlets you see in the synagogues, but they have the IDF
stamp on them and that of the military rabbinate. In the military rabbinate there
is a department called 'Jewish Awareness for a Winning IDF' which is in fact the
department in charge of motivation issues and solving problems of morality and
fighting and the like, for soldiers.
What problem did you have with that?
Personally, I think that as a citizen of a democratic state what bothers me is
actually the distribution of political pamphlets with the stamp of the IDF on them
– a body that is supposed to be apolitical. I think there is no room for political
views in the army, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I think they are
out of place in an army framework. There's no way a battalion commander can
come to his soldiers and say: we now have to go back and resettle Netzarim.
That is our mission. This is what we should do, rebuild Netzarim. Clearly, a
battalion commander who would say this would at least be reprimanded, and he
is likely to be penalized even more severely. And here an official institution tightly
connected to the army, acting in the name of the army, comes and disseminates
the same messages, and no one says anything. This is what bothers me here.
…The second thing, the more immediate measure we witnessed about this was
when we were training at one of the Tze'elim zones. We had just concluded an
exercise and we were preparing for the next one, and then this Army Rabbinate
officer came along with his ranks, uniform and all, and asked us if we were
willing to listen to a rabbi who was with him, in civilian dress. We agreed. Up
came a man who introduced himself as Rabbi Chen, that was his name, who
came as a civilian to speak to us. The whole talk was presented in points: the
first point throughout his speech – later you see it in the pamphlets as well – is
the sanctity of the People of Israel. He put it this way: he said that while going in
there, we should know there is no accounting for sins in this case. The meaning
of this, I'm getting into some interpretation here which is inevitable, otherwise
one does not realize how problematic such a statement is. When a rabbi says
'there's no accounting,' the meaning is that when a person enters a zone that is
naturally very dangerous and everyone is afraid to enter and no one knows what
will happen, what the future has in store for us, of course there are fears. Such
fears are intensified by each person's own past and deeds he must confront, and
naturally there is always that primal fear that this is the place where all my sins
will be paid for. So in view of this, that rabbi up and says: don't worry – there's
no accountability. On the most basic level this is how I understand his meaning.
I don't see any other way to interpret it. Furthermore, this statement contains
a statement about the future: if there really is no accountability for what I have
done in the past, then naturally there is none for what I am about to do in the
immediate or distant future. In other words, we should know that whatever we
do is fine.
Was there any mention of the Palestinians? What did he say about them?
Another point that came up was when that rabbi said we are actually conducting
the war of 'the sons of light' against 'the sons of darkness.' This is in fact a
statement with highly messianic language. This is war that prepares the way for
final redemption. This is outrageous in itself. Again, we witness a language that
is not acceptable to all present, definitely a legitimate view and as such I have
no problem with it. But it must not receive any kind of official stamp, it must not
be used within any military framework. It is just like a political view. But the more
disturbing point even, than this theological point, is its demonization of the other
side. [Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it?] It turns the other side as a generality into
'sons of darkness' while we become'sons of light.' There is no differentiation which we
would expect to find between civilians and others. Namely, here is one people fighting
another people, with all the messianic implications. But that's the point: this is also
religious propaganda. In other words, the army is not a revival meeting. This is not the
reason people enlist. They do not put on a uniform in order to be Judaized and be reborn
in the faith.