|Remarks by the Israeli Minister of Interior Yaakov Neeman suggesting that the Jewish religious law (Halacha) should be adopted as the “law of the land” in the Jewish state has drawn strong reactions from both Jews and non-Jews.
“Step by step, we will bestow upon the citizens of Israel the laws of the Torah and we will turn Halacha into the binding law of the nation,” Neeman told Rabbis at a Jewish law convention in occupied Jerusalem in December 2009.
“We must bring back the heritage of our fathers to the nation of Israel,” he said. “The torah has the complete solution to all of the questions we are dealing with.”
Neeman’s statements were met applauds from participants who included high-ranking Rabbis, as well as representatives of religious parties.
However, for non-Jews, who now constitute nearly 50 percent of the total population in occupied Palestine, Neeman’s remarks are a serious cause for concern since Halacha, at least according to the Orthodox Jewish interpretation, does not recognize the full humanity of non-Jews.
Hence, non-Jews living under Halacha must accept to live under a perpetual state of inferiority, if not persecution.
Lesser in Every Aspect
According to Orthodox Judaism, a non-Jew (goy) is inferior to a Jew in every conceivable aspect. This inferiority is absolute, inherent, intrinsic, and not subject to any related or unrelated factors.
Rabbi Abraham Kook, the religious mentor of the settler movement, taught that “the difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews — all of them in all different levels — is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
The teachings of Kook are based on the Lurianic Cabala (Jewish mysticism), which teaches the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. This means, according to one Rabbi who is member of the Chabadi Lubovitcher sect, that “every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity and is part of God.”
In 2003, Rabbi Saadya Grama of the Beth Medrash Govoha, the renowned Talmudic school of Lakewood, NJ, published a book in which he claimed that Gentiles were completely evil and that Jews constituted a separate, genetically superior species.
The book published under the Hebrew Title “Romemut Yisrael Ufarsahat Hagalut” quoted numerous classical Jewish sources to prove Jewish superiority over the rest of humankind.
The difference between Jews and gentiles, he argued, is not religious, historical, cultural, or political. It is rather racial, genetic, and scientifically unalterable. The one groups is at its very root and by natural constitution “totally evil” while the other is “totally good”
“Jewish successes in the world are completely contingent upon the failure of all other peoples. Only when the gentiles face total catastrophe, Jews do experience good fortune.”
“The Jews themselves brought about their own destruction during the Holocaust, since they arrogantly endeavored to overcome their very essence, dictated by divine law.”
While castigated by many Jewish figures, religious and secular, for its brazen racism, Grama’s thesis is not really in conflict with the Rabbis of Gush Emunim (the settler camp) and the rest of the National religious movement in Israel today.
He readily applies Torah passages against idolaters, other pagans to Christianity and Islam, and other monotheists who worship the God of Abraham, the very God proclaimed by the Torah.
He also ignores extensive Rabbinic deliberations during the medieval period, which concluded that both Islam and Christianity as “licit, monotheistic faiths.”
Hence, Muslims and Christians could not be lumped in one category with the idol-worshipers of earlier times.
If gentiles (goyem) are inherently inferior to Jews, and if their very humanity is presumed to be denied, it is axiomatically inferred from this that these gentiles have inherently lesser rights than Jews do.
Indeed, some Talmudic references do refer to gentiles as “animals walking on two feet instead of four”.
Even today, some Rabbis, such as David Batsri, invoke the “bestiality” of non-Jews, claiming that the Creator created them with two legs instead of four in deference to Jews, because it is not appropriate that Jews be served with four-legged animals.
It is true that this view is not shared by all Rabbis, especially the enlightened ones. However, it is also true that some prominent sages holding both Halachic and historical weight are among the main advocates of this pure racism.
For example, according to the code of Maimonides (Rambam): “A Jew who killed a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment, and has not violated the prohibition of murder.”
This code is implicitly practiced by Jewish settler judges when dealing with Jews convicted of killing Palestinians, which explains the extremely light punishments meted out to the perpetrators, especially in comparison to Arabs convicted of the same felony.
It also explains why Israelis in general and religious settlers in particularly dwell so much upon “shedding Jewish blood” while never showing the slightest concern about Arabs killed by Jews.
Following the 1994 massacre of dozens of Arab worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque at the hands of an American-born Jewish terrorists, Moshe Levinger, a settler leader in the City of Al-Khalil (Hebron) was quoted as saying : “I am not only sorry for dead Arabs, but also for dead flies.”
The application of Jewish law in occupied Palestine (Israel plus the West Bank and Al-Quds) would mean that Palestinians who do not convert to Judaism (at the hands of an Orthodox Rabbi) would have to be treated as “residents alien”.
According to Maimonides, a gentile permitted to reside in the land of Israel, “must accept to pay taxes and to suffer the humiliation of servitude.”
Such gentiles, some modern Rabbis insist, “must be held down and not raise their heads against Jews. Non-Jews must not be appointed to any office or position of power over Jews. If they refuse to live a life of inferiority, then this will signify rebellion and the unavoidable necessity of Jewish warfare against their very presence in the land of Israel.”
This inferiority accorded to non-Jews, which is summarized by the phrase “water carriers and wood-hewers”, is actually an award for the submissiveness of the pacified and subjugated gentiles.
As to “restive” gentiles in the land of Israel, like those demanding equal human and civil rights as citizens, their punishment is usually expulsion or outright extermination.
According to Shulhan Aruch, widely viewed as the most authoritative legalistic source of Jewish religious law, the murder of a Jew is a capital offence and one of the three most heinous sins (the other two being idolatry and adultery).
Jewish religious courts are commanded to mercilessly punish anyone guilty of killing a Jew. However, a Jew who murders a gentile, even deliberately, is guilty of committing a sin against the “laws of heaven” and ought to be published by God rather than man.
However, a gentile murderer living under Jewish jurisdiction must be executed, regardless of whether the victim is Jewish or gentile.
However, if the victim is gentile and the murderer is a Jew who had converted to Judaism, he is not to be punished.
Maimonides also rules that while Jews are forbidden to save the lives of non-Jews in peacetime, they are also forbidden to murder them outright.
“As for gentiles with whom we are not at war, their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written. Neither shall thou stand against the blood of thy fellow, but a gentile is not your fellow.”
Bluntly, anti-gentile codes are also proscribed against non-Jews living under Jewish (religious) rule. This covers the entire penal code. For example, there is an obvious discrimination against non-Jewish citizens in applying punishment for rape and adultery.
According to Israel Shahak’s classical book “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Halacha presumes that all gentiles are promiscuous and presumed not to have paternity.”
For an example, a sexual intercourse between a gentile and a married Jewish woman is a capital offense for both parties, which is punishable by death for both.
However, a sexual intercourse between a Jewish male and a gentile woman — it does not matter if she is married or not since the concept of marriage doesn’t apply to gentiles — is not viewed as gravely as the Talmud equates such intercourse with an intercourse with animals.
A Biblical verse states: “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.” [King James Bible, the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 23:20]. That verse is presumably applied to non-Jews”
In this case, death is proscribed for the gentile woman, while the Jew, even if it is a case of rape, is given a much lighter punishment, like flogging.