Sometimes it’s okay to kill. One of the persistent myths is that a Jew does not shoot a Jew. This myth is rather convenient to the rabbinical establishment, as it allows them to shirk their religious duty to lead the revolt for the Jewish state.

The truth is, Judaism only prohibits the murder of a Jew. The Torah’s formulation implies two exceptions: a legal, necessary killing is permitted and often mandated, and inadvertent manslaughter is not banned. The second case is simple: an inadvertent killer can hide in the cities of refuge for a certain period and then return to society without fear.

The first case raises the question of what kind of killing is legal. The Torah is clear on that matter, and if we are in doubt we have plenty of Talmudic commentaries. Enemies of Judaism and the Jewish people must be killed. These enemies are of three general types: external enemies who either attack the Jews or resist our takeover of the Promised Land; criminals; and offenders against Judaism. The last category actually endangers the entire Jewish people by incurring divine wrath. In civil relations, guilt is individual—children and parents bear it separately. In religious relations, we are one nation before God. For example, the entire adult population of Israel was barred from entering the Promised Land after some Jews doubted the feasibility of conquering Canaan.

Jews actively killed each other without Sanhedrin. The Maccabee fundamentalists killed liberal Jews, Pharisees allegedly persecuted Jewish messianics, rabbis sentenced Jewish informers, and Labor Zionists assassinated their ideological opponents. The list might be extended to the Peace Now traitors. More interestingly, the government has had a whole lot of Jews killed for purely political reasons: refusing to arm the country in 1947, refusing to preempt in 1973, or as part of the Oslo peace process. In every war since 1967, scores of Jews were killed on the government’s orders—or, more precisely, on the absence of the government’s order to use nuclear weapons, even tactical nuclear mines and shells, which pose no threat to the side which uses them.

When tens of thousands of Jews were killed and wounded on the government’s orders to go into battle without the best possible means of subduing the enemy, the establishment has no moral right to decry isolated killings by the right-wing, whether Huroc’s secretary by the JDL or Rabin by Yigal Amir.