For the Torah to preserve its applicability, the human mentality must not have changed over the last three thousand years. Indeed.
After the Church was no longer able to censor the books, the Left took its turn and censored everything from Tom Sawyer to hate speech. The three hundred Spartans who died at Thermopiles would have readily recognized Japanese defense at Iwo Jima or Russian defense of Moscow. The command to slay the Canaanites reverberated with European settlers in America. The command to slay the Amalek for ancient offenses finds approval among those Muslims who blame the West for the loss of Alhambra. The sight of French atrocities in Vietnam wouldn’t be unusual to ancient Hebrews returning from punitive expeditions; both nations, ideologically inspired, refrained from spoils. Children were sacrificed to Moloch; now parents send their children to die for national ideals. Human mentality didn’t change but was exacerbated by technology. The Fire-bombings of Coventry and Tokyo replaced the stakes. Murder has become unfashionable now that people can distance themselves from it and kill with the push of a button. Affluent societies can afford to sentence criminals for decades instead of executing him; the efforts to prevent suicide in jails show that imprisonment is often worse than execution. Automatic rifles replaced swords, and soldiers don’t need to do the grisly killing close-up; killing is done from a distance. Mechanized, impersonal murder spells the absence of moral restraints; the twentieth century saw history’s largest massacres—and many of them. From the video game mentality of virtual murder to the screens of net-centric warfare, people are ready to wipe out those blips on the screens.
And the commandments apply to Ehud Olmert just as they applied to Joshua bin Nun.