War & Peace

prisoner of war

Prisoners of War

While Jewish law does not directly address the treatment of POWs, we can extrapolate a great deal about battlefield ethics and appropriate punishments for opponents judged to be criminals. Many of the specific restrictions on military behavior and on punishment recognize the potential for these actions to lead to the degradation of another.

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Practices and Traditions

Shalom

Shalom

Along with truth and justice, peace is a hallowed Jewish value.

Ethics of Jewish War

Is there such a thing as "purity of arms"?

Pacifism

Minimizing violence has always been a Jewish priority.

Limitations on War

Deuteronomy permits wars of aggression, but the talmudic rabbis made it difficult to declare one.

War and Peace 101

Jews hope for peace, pursue peace, and expect universal peace at the end of history.

Modern Insights

Nuclear War

Nuclear War

Judaism prohibits military action that will result in a colossal number of casualties.

Holy War

War in the name of God must be examined in our own tradition as well.

Preemptive Attacks

Have Israeli and U.S. attacks been ethically justifiable?

Israeli Soldiers

And refusal to serve.

Assertive Nonviolence

Establishing a new program of Jewish resistance.


Controversies

Israeli Supreme Court Decision

Israeli Supreme Court Decision

"A democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back."

Genocide

The existential threat of Amalek.

Worshipping Peace

When a revered value becomes all-important, it can become like an idol.

Conscientious Objection

According to this scholar, Jewish tradition does not recognize the right of conscientious objection.

The Nuts and Bolts of Peace with Iran

The importance of hoping for, and believing in, peace.

Books

The Challenge of Shalom: The Jewish Tradition of Peace

The Challenge of Shalom: The Jewish Tradition of Peace

Edited by Murray Polner and Naomi Goodman

Theologies of War and Peace Among Jews, Christians, and Muslims

By Albert B. Randall

The Ethics of War and Peace

Edited by Terry Nardin

Confronting Omnicide: Jewish Reflections on Mass Destruction

Edited by Daniel Landes

Quiz Yourself

How much do you know about the Jewish ethics and laws of combat?

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