The Jewish Law of War

Suzanne Last Stone

in Just Wars, Holy Wars, and Jihads

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755042
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950508 | DOI:
The Jewish Law of War

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This chapter analyzes three strands in contemporary Jewish thinking on war: The collectivists view Israel as a collective entity entitled to wage war and not merely a bundle of individuals bound by normative halakhic obligations, such as the saving of lives when self-defense is not at issue. The diasporists treats the nation-state, and its institutions and policies, whether a host-state or the state of Israel, as external conditions or circumstances, new political formations, in which the transnational halakha is objectively applied. The cosmopolitans turn to international law as the standard governing war in the Jewish nation. But there are two very different versions of cosmopolitans: those who believe that international law applies because war is part of the profane functions of statehood and political structures, which the halakha addresses only peripherally, and those who believe that international law applies because Jews can consent to be governed by international, rather than indigenous, standards of war.

Keywords: halakha; Israel; international law; standards of war

Chapter.  11602 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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