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Religious Violence And Jewish Justification

By Darren Signorino z3294933


if not more apparent in the modern era. and terrorism is still. describes these successions as the ‘four waves of modern terrorism’. David Rapoport. target identities and other defining characteristics. many acts of terrorism suffered. The fourth wave. the religious wave. With each wave having different focus and aims. Despite the variations in the dominant features of these waves each has had some aspects of religion to it.The current face of terrorism Acts of terrorism have gone on for almost as long as history can remember. The earliest group to exhibited characteristics of what we would call a terrorist organization dates back as early as the first century: the Zealots of Judea or the Sicarii as they were also known.Anarchists. the organizations responsible come and gone. These dominant religious influences are often used for the justification of violence as 2 . is almost a polar opposite: it is religious principles that are sought to be implemented as the corner stone of a state. Analysis of modern terrorism shows how it has somewhat developed and progressed over the last two centuries. Nationalist and New Leftdistinguishing features are in the names. Centuries later. however it was usually a secular aim to separate church from state. UCLA Professor Emeritus of Political Science and an expert in terrorism. All of the first three wave’s. strategies.

In these cases the perpetrators had only acted after receiving a rabbinical almost anti-colonial campaign. Zealots-Sicarii. there are examples of Jewish terrorism with much deeper religious motivations. Y’hudiy Teroriyz’m The early example of terrorism spoken of before.well. was conducted by Jews under occupation by the Romans and while there were large religious elements at play it seemed that the main goal was to facilitate an uprising against the Romans. The same group went on to plan bombings of Arab buses. In 1983. After the arrests were made was it uncovered that there was yet another plan. One of the main objectives of the operation was to allow the reconstruction of a Jewish third temple for the return of 3 . In more recent times. luckily they were arrested before the plan was put into motion. which was to bomb the Dome of the Rock (3rd holiest shrine of Islam). in response to the killing of a Jewish religious school student by Arabs. the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) responded by shooting at students of an Islamic college killing three and wounding thirty-three. within this fourth wave of modern terrorism. the ‘Temple Mount’ operation.

a notion he acquired from extremist rabbis that condemned Rabin to death for ‘betraying’ the Jewish people. In1994 Dr Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslims who were praying at the Ibrahim Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs killing 29 and injuring 150. Kahane embraced a messianic vision of Jewish politics calling for things like a state sponsored Jewish terrorist group with the purpose of ‘killing Arabs and driving them out of Israel’. Goldstein was a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane: founder of the Jewish Defence League and the right-wing Kach (Thus) Party. Bruce Hoffman. Goldstein hoped his act would ensure the coming of the Messiah.the Messiah. describes Kahane’s preaching’s as “virulent hatred of Arabs that simultaneously extolled the virtues of Jewish aggressiveness and combativeness”. Much like the planned bombing of the Dome of the Rock. It is justified… or is it? In cases of religiously motivated terrorism the extremists believe 4 . The other was to enrage the Muslim world and eventuate in war between them and the Jewish state. In 1995 Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir. Director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and a specialist in the study of terrorism and counter-insurgency. Amir believed he was fulfilling God’s will.

if you see someone about to harm (kill. Other interpretations of Kiddush ha-Shem have led to the idea that to die for the sanctification of 5 . Amir. rape) another person. responsible for the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. By this reasoning Amir justified his killing of Rabin as he was seen to be an enemy which was bringing harm to the Jewish people. like most other religions. when Judaism. Many of the extremists involved in the attacks previously described were followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane who justified such violent acts through his religious teachings. while mainstream followers often approach such things with a more figurative outlook. you may kill the pursuer in order to prevent the crime. where extremist will often interpret sacred instructions from the past with a very literal point of view. It is unlikely that most mainstream Jews would agree that Prime Minister Rabin fits the definition of a pursuer. Kahane believed that this triumph would be the ultimate Kiddush ha-Shem (sanctification of God or the glorification of the God of Israel).that their actions are part of their divine duty. Many people ask. One of Kahane’s focal points was the idea of catastrophic messianism whereby the Messiah will return during a great conflict in which the Jews are triumphant. how can this be. put such a high store on peace? It is at this point where it usually comes down to interpretations of scriptures. justified his actions with the Halakhic decree of the ‘law of the pursuer’.

the mainstream understanding of Kiddush ha-Shem is that one should willingly die before committing any of the three specific commandments. In the absence of such powers. Rabbi Kahane was all too willing to do so. as it is today.God is a martyr’s death. one of which is murder. obligatory wars where required for defense and permissible wars when it was prudent for the state to do so. a man who volunteers for such an operation will be called a hero and martyr. There are two instances that allow war under Jewish Law. Any act which hinders the attainment of the Promised Land impede the arrival of the Messiah and is therefore a crime justifying obligatory violence. The above reasons for a just war were to be determined by a Halakhic state (government ruled by Jewish law) for an obligatory war and by the Sanhedrin (council of elders) or a prophet in the case of a permissible war.” Failure How to evaluate the ‘success’ of these terrorist activities? Religious violence is less about sending a message to a wider audience as 6 .” However. an extremist rabbi advocating selfmartyrdom stated “Sacrificing oneself for God. “Anything that humiliated the Jews was not only an embarrassment but a retrograde motion in the world’s progress towards salvation. the conditions can be interpreted by a rabbi.

Evidenced above by this determination to hasten the return of the Messiah and the hurrying of the final redemption whether it be through sparking a conflict or purifying the land by means of expelling the Arabs (Kahane). David C. References • Rapoport.was usually the case in previous waves of modern terrorism. No war has been waged. it would seem that the actions taken by the extremists spoken of have been a failure. religious extremists often have more pious goals for there use of violence. In any perspective though. ‘The Four Waves of Modern 7 . Arabs remain in the Holy Lands and the Messiah has yet to return.

org/wiki/Bruce_Hoffman http://www._Rapoport http://www. Edited by Mark Juergensmeyer. London: University of California 8 . DC: Georgetown University Press.wikipedia. pages 46-73 • Hoffman. 1998. Inside Terrorism.terrorism-research. 3rd (Revised and Updated) ed. New York: Columbia University Press. eds.theshalomcenter. Mark. Los Angeles. Ludes. Audrey Kurth and James M. • Juergensmeyer. Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Chapter Two. http://en. http://www. • • • • • • http://www. 2004.jewishvirtuallibrary. Washington. Comparative Studies in Religion and Society.Terrorism’ in Cronin. Bruce.doitinhebrew.php http://en.wikipedia. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence.