Non-violence is a permission of violence. When the rabbis urged other Jews to refrain from violence against the government troops in Gush Katif, they implicitly sanctioned the violence by the government. The establishment’s rabbis firmly opposed the violence by settlers, but the rabbinical pronouncements against the government’s violence were decidedly half-hearted. Indeed, as the Talmud says, a person merciful to the cruel is cruel to the merciful.
Numerous Jewish philosophers have criticized the idealistic concept of all-forgiveness. Justice, swift and efficient, is the cornerstone of Judaism. Inadvertent transgressions, not sinful per se, become sinful if not expiated promptly. Delaying the cleansing of one’s minor impurities is a major sin. Offenses must be restituted promptly, not carried over the Yom Kippur. Mercy applies only to honest delusions or thoroughly repented sins.
Justice is the peak of societal development, and injustice the bottom of it. According to tradition, the land of Israel was lost several times before because of the injustice.
Among the many commandments, justice is accorded the intensifying repetition, “Justice, justice shall you follow, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you.” The words of the Torah proved true: absent of justice, we lost our land in Gaza, and will continue to lose it in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.
The rabbis’ refusal to judge the Israeli government is, in effect, a judgment. It condemns the best Jews, who left the comfortable urban life and settled the hostile territories to keep them Jewish. The rabbinical refusal to condemn the government traitors is opportunist: the rabbis are content when secular courts judge other criminals, and the rabbinical courts pass judgment on many matters. The rabbis regularly take money from the government, and are disqualified from expressing their judicial opinion in conflicts between the Jews and the Israeli government.
The rabbinical establishment’s opinion that only Sanhedrin could condemn Jewish traitors to death is merely a ruse. Historically, Sanhedrin functioned for rather a short period. The Jews dispensed justice without Sanhedrin most of the time. The Torah prescribes courts of justice in every town, and in no way limits their jurisdiction in capital cases. The Maccabees killed Jewish traitors without hearing them in Sanhedrin. Medieval rabbis ruled that Jewish informants should be killed because they endangered the nation, though no Sanhedrin was in place.
The original Sanhedrin, which was formed by an uninterrupted sequence of appointments, is impossible to reconstruct. The lines of judges are irreparably broken. That doesn’t mean the Jews should live without justice. The Jewish legal system was reconstructed on several occasions, and the Sanhedrin could be reconstructed now. The only reason the rabbinical establishment does not establish the Sanhedrin is political correctness. Sanhedrin would have to wrest judicial power from the secular Israeli state, and pass some very illiberal judgments. Thus the hypocritical rabbis, the blind guides of the blind, prefer no Sanhedrin at all to honestly adjusting its procedures to modern realities.
In the case of Jewish traitors, Sanhedrin is unnecessary. Judaism allows extra-judicial judgment when the danger is clear and present: “If a man rises up to kill you, kill him first.” The settlers did not attack the government troops, but defended themselves, their families, and their property against violent attacks.
A defensive war is waged without the decision of Sanhedrin. Any capture of the land of Israel triggers a defensive war. In Gush Katif, the Jews did not oppose the government as some bandits, but waged a defensive war. The defenders of Gush Katif could legitimately treat the Israeli government and its loyal troops as wartime enemies.
The Jews who uncritically cling to the pronouncements of the rabbinical establishment could still oppose the government in Gush Katif with due violence. Since the Sanhedrin’s judgment is only necessary for execution, shooting the government loyalists to wound rather than to kill is legitimate, even in the official rabbinical opinion.
Violence is indispensable to social progress. The threat of violence keeps rulers in check. Periodic violence destroys the anti-societal effects of the ruling establishment’s policies. Violence does not begin a golden era, but ends the most drastic infringements on the public interest, and temporarily moves the balance of power from the ruling clique to the nation. Countries that allow moderate violence, such as the anti-Vietnam War protests in America, are spared accumulation of grievances, and civil wars there are rare. Israel prohibits even the burning of tires during political demonstrations. Her leaders harshly oppress everything truly Jewish. Israel, therefore, braces for large-scale civil violence as the only solution to demographic or military annihilation.