The Israel Defense Forces’ chief rabbi told students in a pre-army yeshiva program last week that soldiers who “show mercy” toward the enemy in wartime will be “damned.”
Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki also told the yeshiva students that religious individuals made better combat troops.
Speaking Thursday at the Hesder yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron , Rontzki referred to Maimonides’ discourse on the laws of war. That text quotes a passage from the Book of Jeremiah stating: “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord with a slack hand, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.”
In Rontzki’s words, “In times of war, whoever doesn’t fight with all his heart and soul is damned – if he keeps his sword from bloodshed, if he shows mercy toward his enemy when no mercy should be shown.”