Bret Stephens writing in Tuesday's Journal offers a telling reminder of the nature of Israel's struggle against Hamas. He reminds us of Hamas's slogan: "God is [Hamas's] target, the Prophet is its model, the Quran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of God is the loftiest of its wishes." How can one emerge victorious fighting against someone who sees death as a victory? How can one compromise--the very essence of cease fires and peace agreements--with someone who would prefer death over life? In past wars military victories were quantifiable. One destroys 60% of their tanks and the remaining 40% limp back to within their state's borders. Victory in conventional terms is an illusion. Peace is therefore also an illusion. Such is the nature of Israel's present struggle. Israel can best hope to minimize rocket attacks on its South and prevent the smuggling of more advanced weapons into Gaza. Perhaps Israel can push the Palestinian people into rejecting Hamas and the cult of death it offers. Then again if it pushes too hard the people may choose death by their own hands and in keeping with Hamas's jihadist theology rather than at the hands of Israel's soldiers. I support Israel's right to defend itself and protect its citizens. I pray that Palestinians will see living alongside Israelis and the Jewish state as the best hope for life. I pray that Palestinians will see compromise as the road to eternal life. In the meantime I pray that Israel's soldiers will succeed in bringing some measure of shalom--quiet and calm--to its borders.
Watch Rabbi Donniel Hartman to hear an excellent analysis of the moral questions Israel faces in waging war against Hamas.