A leading Israeli news site, Haaretz recently published an article stating that the world’s oldest complete copy of the Ten Commandments is going on rare display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem which was part of the Dead Sea scroll discoveries from years gone by.
The Ten Commandments of course appear in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible and also in the Jewish scriptures. Jewish people call them the ‘Ten Sayings’. Most synagogues have these clearly written, in Hebrew, on a wall plaque. Usually just the first part of each saying is written and often the first five and second five sayings are shown in two lists. This reminds Jews that Moses (ʿalayhi al-Salām) received the Ten Sayings on two stone tablets, on Mount Sinai.
The 10 Commandments are as follows:
- You shall have no other Gods but me.
- You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Respect your father and mother.
- You must not kill.
- You must not commit adultery.
- You must not steal.
- You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
- You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
The purpose of this article is to only explore those commandments from the above list that are relevant as regards the formation of the State of Israel and scrutinise and ascertain whether Israel has any legitimacy in Judaism.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God”
One of the most used explanations you will hear from Zionists and those who hold extreme Jewish views to justify why they believe they are permitted to occupy another people’s land is that, allegedly, the Jewish people are God’s “chosen people” and the Torah (the Old Testament) grants that piece of land (Palestine) based on the following verse:
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you (Abraham) and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning’s, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession”.
The belief in Judaism has always been that the Temple and former Jewish State was lost physically because of the Jewish people’s failure to live up to their spiritual obligations to God. The Torah foretold that if the “children of Israel” should fail in their spiritual task, they would be banished from the land and sent into exile. This exilic punishment according to Jewish belief was to last until the Lord, in His mercy, saw fit to end it by ushering in the Messianic era. This utopian future according to Jewish beliefs will feature the worship of God by all mankind, centred in the Holy Land and the city of Quds (Jerusalem).
In the ‘Additional Service’ recited on every major Jewish holiday, we find the following prayer,
“And because of our sins we were exiled from our land and removed from our soil and we cannot now go up and appear and prostrate ourselves before You”.
Jewish sages believed that God imposed three vows when He sent them into the wilderness/exile:
(1) that the children of Israel shall never seek to re-establish their nation by themselves;
(2) that they never be disloyal to the nations which have given them shelter;
(3) that these nations shall not oppress them excessively.
Neturei Karta (“Guardians of the City”) are a Jewish religious group, formally created in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine, in 1938. They oppose Zionism and call for a peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel. They state that the belief of the Jews is that it is forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah. They state that the Talmud, which is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the second most authoritative book after the Torah for Jews, provides that because of their sins the Jewish people were made to go into exile from the land of Israel and that any form of forceful recapture of the land of Israel is a violation of divine will i.e. it is forbidden. They believe nonetheless that the land of Palestine will be restored to the Jewish people but that the restoration should only happen with the coming of the awaited Messiah, not by self-determination as has been the case with the state of Israel.
The belief in Judaism that establishing the Jewish state without the coming of the Messiah is well established. The Maharal of Prague, who was a Czechoslovakian Rabbi and pivotal medieval Jewish leader between 1525-1609, wrote that a Jewish person should rather give up his life than attempt to end exile by conquering the Holy Land.
In addition, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, who was a German Jewish leader between 1808-1888 stated:
“During the reign of Hadrian when the uprising led by Bar Kochba proved a disastrous error, it became essential that the Jewish people be reminded for all times of an important essential fact, namely that [the people of] Israel must never again attempt to restore its national independence by its own power; it was to entrust its future as a nation solely to Divine Providence:“
Again Rabbi Hirsch writes,
“We mourn over that which brought about that destruction [of the Temple] we take to heart the harshness we have encountered in our years of wandering as the chastisement of a father, imposed on us for our improvement, and we mourn the lack of observance of Torah which that ruin has brought about. . . This destruction obliges us to allow our longing for the far away land to express itself only in mourning, in wishing and hoping; and only through the honest fulfilment of all Jewish duties to await the realisation of this hope. But it forbids us to strive for the reunion or possession of the land by any but spiritual means.“
It is clear that the overwhelming belief within Judaism for hundreds of years was that it is forbidden for them to even consider conquering Quds until their Messiah descended – this was a popular held belief throughout the ages and the reason why the majority of Jewish people always resided in countries other than in Palestine. It was only in the 19th Century that the taking of the land of Palestine was made part of the belief within Judaism which consisted of misquoting and re-interpreting the scripture to suit wicked, evil, and political goals by Zionists. Thus, it is evident that the Zionists and those extremist Jewish people who sign up to the message of Zionism, have misused the name of their “Lord” in direct contravention of the third commandment noted above and therefore has no legitimacy to be a Jewish State.
“You must not kill”
On July 22, 1946, Zionist terrorists dressed as Arabs blew up the King David Hotel in Palestine, killing 91 and injuring 45 . The perpetrators were Menachem Begin’s Irgun extremist group; the very same Menachem Begin who would go on to win the Nobel Peace prize some 32 years later, as Prime Minister of the illegal Zionist state. This false-flag style, in which stage-managed attacks are blamed on innocent Palestinians for political ends, was to be a cornerstone of Israel’s acts of state terrorism and was to be frequently employed over the following decades including the 21st century for political motivated reasons. It is apparent therefore that Israel was founded right from its inception on killing, destruction and deception. Daringly, in July 2006, Israeli right-wingers, including the current Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu held a two-day seminar to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the King David bombing as a slap in the face of the British state who made the Zionist state a possibility – this was an open celebration of terrorism.
If Israel is indeed a Jewish state, and the premise for its existence is based on scripture, then surely other instructions granted by the scripture should also be upheld? It is an open secret that Israel is the only nuclear power in the Middle East. And yet, according to the Torah, a Jewish state is not supposed to even have a standing army let alone being a nuclear power. Jewish rulers were forbidden from amassing large numbers of weapons and horses i.e. military resources, and it is the belief within Judaism that God stipulated that Israel should remain militarily weak so they would learn to trust Him for protection only. In fact, militarising as a Jewish state is frowned upon to such extent in the Torah that it is likened to ‘apostasy, witchcraft and idolatry’. This explains why, despite thousands of years in exile, frequent exclusion and persecution, the Jewish people never suggested that the Holy Land could or should be retaken by force of arms as this goes against their own beliefs whilst not going against Zionist beliefs.
Of course, the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians has been a common feature of the state of Israel. Since its formation, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been killed and continue to be killed, and therefore once again, we see a gross violation by Israel of the sixth commandment that “you must not kill” and therefore Israel has no legitimacy to be a Jewish State.
“You must not give false evidence against your neighbour” AND
“You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour”
The above two commandments are further qualified in various verses within the Torah for example, we find:
“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God”.
“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt”.
Despite these instructions in the Torah, there are today approximately 721,000-771,000 settlers (though it should not be forgotten that the entire Israeli population are considered as settlers). It is not enough for the state of Israel to have already stolen more than three quarters of the land of the Palestine; we know that they also seek to steal the remaining quarter through the formation of illegal settlements in areas which are supposed to be marked as belonging to Palestinians. In fact, I recall from my own visit to Jerusalem some years ago being shocked at witnessing a house belonging to Palestinians having an extremist Jewish family squatting and residing in the same house – a make shift curtain has been put up as a barrier within the home to divide the two families. What is worse is that the Palestinian family informed me that they had reached a stage that they were willing to share the house with these criminal squatters but that this was not enough, the squatters are now seeking to claim the whole home through the courts. I wonder if these extremists have read the above passages from the Torah about the rights of neighbours?
Instead of adhering to the instructions in the Torah, the Israeli’s have proved to be the most treacherous and blood thirsty neighbours to the Palestinians.
Points to Note
As stated above, Israel’s claim to the land of Palestine is based on one verse in their scripture (noted above and similar repeated verses) whilst it is clear that this claim comes at the expense of an open violation of other verses and in particular, the obligations enshrined within the 10 commandments and from the views of Jewish sages for over a thousand years. The state of Israel cannot pick and choose which parts of the scripture apply to them. If Israel is not bound to the obligations of the commandments, then how can they be entitled to the verse about the covenant – you cannot have one without the other.
When assessing Israel’s claim, we should ask whether we would stand for any other nation on earth forcing people off of the land that has been in their family’s possession for generations on end on the claim of scripture from thousands of years ago of which the original source no longer exists today? Would we allow them to lay claim to a land based on their residing and ruling of the land for a period of only 500 years in comparison to a people who had owned it for over 1400 years? Would we stand for any other nation inviting people from various parts of the earth to come and build illegal settlements on land that we all accept belongs to another people? Would we stand for them restricting freedom of movement, arresting young children, closing their ports and airspace, bulldozing their homes and olive trees, and killing thousands of people? The answer inevitably is that we most certainly would not. But many of the nations around the world which follow an evangelical brand of Christianity such as America turn a blind eye to all of this because Israel in their eyes is promised to the Jewish people. It is a shame that they do not consider Israel’s claim further which would prove the fallacy of such a contention and would show that those who hold extremist positions within Judaism and the Zionists have no regard for the message within their own scripture.
And finally, scrutinising the covenant itself a little further, it is clear that the Zionists believe that the covenant applies to the offspring of Abraham (ʿalayhi al-Salām). However, it should not be forgotten that the larger portion of Abraham’s (ʿalayhi al-Salām) offspring and lineage have adopted Islām as their faith and became Muslims. These Palestinian Muslims have for more than a thousand years protected the land, ploughed its soil and watered its trees – trees that the Israelis have of course made a habit of uprooting and replacing with the blood of innocent people. So even if we accept that entitlement to the land is based on the covenant in question, then I would say that such a covenant is most likely applicable to the Palestinians who are the offspring of Abraham and to say otherwise is a misapplication of the covenant.
Notes: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.655098  Torah: Genesis 17:7-8  http://www.nkusa.org/  http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/august-2000/whatdoyousaywhen  http://www.twf.org/News/Y2002/0401-NetureiKarta.html  Encyclopaedia of Terrorism, Harvey W. Kushner, Sage, 2003  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1524552/Israel-celebrates-Irgun-hotel-bombers.html  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/15/truth-israels-secret-nuclear-arsenal  Torah: Deuteronomy 17:16-17  Torah: Micah 5  http://www.war-memorial.net/wars_all.asp  Torah: Leviticus 19:33-34  Torah: Exodus 22:21  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/26/jewish-population-west-bank-up  http://electronicintifada.net/content/heritage-uprooted/7126