Ha'aretz (who else but?) published an amazing essay titled Would God want Israel to attack Iran? penned by Michael Knopf, Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania.
Being an atheist, I could hardly argue theology, especially of this high level of complexity with the learned Rabbi. Frankly, I don't even know whether Israel itself is that eager to attack Iran. What I do remember from theology is that the ways of God are inscrutable, which makes the whole essay rather pointless to start with. Who knows, maybe exactly at this same moment (which passed when I was correcting a typo in the word "same") God was guiding the hand of a ground crew member that was fixing in place one of these humongous bunker busters on an F16 (or F15 or Piper, for all I know).
But, as I said, I wouldn't argue theology - or fitting various fashion accessories to a warplane, which is another closed book for me. What drew my attention was the following quote from the Rabbi's essay (reposted here with the links, which are important for the purpose of this post):
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, does Iran meet the Talmud’s standard for preemptive killing? Iran is clearly developing nuclear technology, but do we know Iran is planning to build a weapon? No, we do not. And even if we knew that Iran plans to build a nuke, do we know it plans to use it? No. And even if we knew that Iran planned a nuclear attack, do we know its intention is to kill Jews or destroy Israel? No. And even if we knew that Iran planned to attack Israel, do we know that it is imminent? No; most experts believe Iran is still years away from building a weapon. The Talmud implies that we may not “rise up early to kill first” unless those standards are met.Now, even assuming that God, whose ways, as you must remember by now, are inscrutable, is following* the Talmudic dictum "If one comes to kill you, rise up early to kill him [first]" to the letter, after reading the above quote the following questions must be inevitable:
Would God base his decision and the act that follows that decision on:
- A long, jumbled and mumbled article from New York Times that uses available (public) information very selectively to make its point?
- A comical piece from Washington Post that masticates again (time # 1025) Juan Cole's "expertise" in Farsi language?
- A totally irrelevant (why it was linked at all is a mystery) and obsolete report on US nuclear arsenal? Check the link again if you think I am barmy. Somebody is, apparently...
(*) This is one tall assumption, keeping in mind Gods' inscrutability. Why would He follow any dictum, even his own as expressed in Talmud?