Moment Magazine has a feature called "Ask the Rabbis" where they ask a question to a number of rabbis from different denominations of Judaism. This month's question was "How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?"
After presenting answers from various frum and non-frum rabbis, Moment gives us the answer from a Chabad rabbi:
I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.
The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).
The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. First, the Arabs will stop using children as shields. Second, they will stop taking hostages knowing that we will not be intimidated. Third, with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side. Result: no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war.
Zero tolerance for stone throwing, for rockets, for kidnapping will mean that the state has achieved sovereignty. Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention.
This answer comes to us courtesy of Rabbi Manis Friedman. If the name sounds familiar to you, it might be because I twice discussed his opinion that babies conceived through artificial methods are spiritually defective. Well, it seems that Rabbi Friedman has brought another unpopular opinion to the public eye. But unlike his opinions on babies that might be spiritually defective, this one has much broader implications.
The Torah has an interesting problem that it must overcome: it is, at it's core, a static written document that must remain relevant to all Jews in all places at all times despite changes in values and morals around the world. It's easy to say that in the time that the Torah was given, total war was the standard. It was often either kill or be killed -- and for any group that was fighting a war in the Bronze Age, those were the rules you had to follow if you wanted to survive. The rape of the vanquished female population, and the sale into slavery of women and children was to be expected. Applying modern-day war ethics (is "war ethics" an oxymoron?) during that time period could easily be the cause of your army being destroyed. But yet, if these things were to happen today, we'd be appalled. Ethics in war have evolved beyond the need for total genocide. Indeed, one of the main distinctions between what we view as legitimate war and terror is the willingness to target civilian noncombatants. Don't we repeatedly trumpet Israel's moral superiority by making the point that while Hamas, Hezbollah, et al are willing to target anyone to accomplish their goals, Israel only targets terrorists as much as is humanly possible?
But you can't have it both ways. You can't say "it's immoral for Hamas to blow up babies in pizza shops" while at the same time saying that the Jews in Israel should "Kill men, women and children (and cattle)." Rabbi Friedman can say that total war is the "moral" way and "Jewish way" to fight a war against the Arabs. And, it's even possible that he's right -- I'm not going to rule out that there are times and circumstances when total war might be called for (although I'm very hard pressed to come up with any in the modern world). But when you resort to using the tactics of your enemy that you have condemned as being immoral, you lose all right to then say that you are a "light unto the nations."
Note: To follow some of the Chabad reaction to Rabbi Friedman's words, click here and here.