Netanyahu and the Amalekites

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Rabi' al-Thani 18, 1445 2023-11-02

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

By Rev Frank Gelli

How could Israel rescue the hostages in Gaza?

They should offer Hamas a swap.

Trade PM Netanyahu for the prisoners.

That, a friend suggested, would be a win-win for all involved.
Bibi Netanyahu is a mighty liability for his country.

Days ago, he compared Gaza to Amalek. Meaning a people in ancient Canaan antagonistic to the Hebrews.

In the Old Testament the Prophet Samuel commands Saul, Israel’s first King, to exterminate the entire Amalekite nation, root and branch: men, women, children and babies, including all domestic animals.

The Bible chillingly relates how Saul complied with the voice’s injunction.
Any statesman who urged a similar genocidal barbarity would be a psychopath.

That must be the case with Bibi.

For the sake of the Jewish people, the man should go.

All folks committed to genuine religious dialogue and friendship between faiths should state that the high ethical standards of Judaism are incompatible with the savagery Israel’s PM instigates.

The alternative is being sucked into an abyss of infinite evil.
I fear the spectacle of the IDF bombardment of Gaza and the attendant sufferings of the civilian population is fuelling antisemitism worldwide.

In faraway Dagestan Muslim crowds agitated against Israelis disembarking from an aircraft.

Minor but unpleasant episodes of Jew-hatred are reported in the UK.

Stronger reason to emphasise the examples of brave Jews opposed to maniac Netanyahu and his minions.

In NYC hundreds of Jews for Peace demonstrated in the iconic Central Station, demanding a cease-fire now.

The ‘Neturei Karta’ organisation of ultra-Orthodox Jews marches alongside Palestinians and opposes the zionist state.

I am honoured to have shared a seminar on Jerusalem with their Rabbi Aaron Cohen.

One of the most impressive religious men I ever met.

And the other night I heard in London Professor Avi Shlaim, Oxford historian, lambasting Netanyahu’s policies. So, there is hope.
Still, many Jews react viscerally against any criticism of Israel.

Private Eye, a satirical magazine, was inundated with angry readers’ letters because of a frontpage mildly deploring the destructions in Gaza.

Readers depressingly blind to the huge harm that IDF’s indiscriminate war does to Israel’s reputation.

Thank God for figures like Cohen, Shlaim and countless others standing out as authentic exemplars of the best Jewish morality.
How to stop the war?

A fatuous apologist for Netanyahu said that Hamas should wave the white flag and surrender, then the IDF would halt its onslaught.

Laughable but imagine Hamas did.

The case of the Amalekites isn’t promising. King Saul spared the Amalekite chief, Agag, after he had surrendered.

That act of compassion provoked the wrath of Prophet Samuel and he blasted Saul for violating God’s will.

Agag was summoned, expecting mercy. Instead, Saul hewed him into pieces.

Hamas knows well what to expect, if they were naïve enough to lay down arms.

How to overcome and transcend the inhuman hates playing themselves out in the Holy Land?

A radical Muslim friend told me the interfaith game has failed and it is over.

No, this crisis shows dialogue is more vital than ever!

All true enthusiasts, visionaries and mystics must unite and act.

Formulate a new, spiritual paradigm of politics.

Israel frets about its security, threatened by Hamas.

But state security is a merely negative principle.

A positive version would be to expand security on a higher plane.

I am thinking of Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher. (A zionist, alas.)

Was dipping into his writings last night.

His book, Between Man and Man is inspirational.
Buber could not accept Samuel’s order to massacre the Amalekites as coming from God and so told a severe Rabbi who looked daggers at him.

“What do you believe then?” the Rabbi challenged him.

“I believe that Samuel had misunderstood God’s will”, Buber replied.

“Do you really believe that?” The religious teacher seemed on the point of exploding but Buber didn’t budge: “I do.”

And the stern Rabbi stunned him: “I believe that too!”
Reverend Frank Gelli is an Anglican Priest and cultural critic and commentator.

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