Scripture to Slaughter: Netanyahu's Holy War and the Genocide in Gaza.
In many of Prime Minister Netanyahu's speeches and public statements, he frequently alludes to religious texts, particularly from Jewish scriptures. On numerous occasions, he has employed these references to stir up the Israeli population and instill specific ideologies within the military.
These references are primarily derived from the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, and are employed to underscore the righteousness of Israel's actions, portraying the conflict as a struggle between "the children of light and the children of darkness."
One recurring reference is the biblical command, "Remember what Amalek did to you." (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) This reference from the book of Deuteronomy invokes the biblical narrative of the Amalekite tribe, an ancient rival of Israel. In this narrative, the prophet Samuel directs King Saul to annihilate the Amalekites without exception, sparing no one, not even women, children, or animals. This command is rooted in a desire for retribution against the Amalekites for past violence against the Israelites. Netanyahu's use of this reference serves to depict Israel's adversaries as an existential threat, thereby justifying brutal military actions.
In another instance, Netanyahu cited the Book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 3:7-8), which appears both in the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. He quoted the passage "There is a time for peace and a time for war" to assert that the current situation required a state of war.
By framing the conflict against Palestinian groups as a biblical battle, he aims to radicalize the Israeli population and soldiers, depicting their actions as morally upright and indispensable.
This utilization of religious references underscores the ongoing apartheid environment in Israel.
Interpretations of the narrative by Rabbis and Judaic scholars emphasize that Amalek no longer exists, and references to it should be taken metaphorically rather than as a call to arms. Netanyahu's treatment of Amalek as a literal adversary deviates from this interpretation, undermining the moral framework established by Jewish tradition over the past two millennia.
Netanyahu's use of religious references can be seen as akin to instances where extremist groups like ISIS have employed religious texts to justify violence.
If any regime or group needs containment, it should be these radical elements within Israel.