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Fighting the War and the Peace: Battlefield Ethics, Peace Talks, Treaties, and Pacifism in the Jewish Tradition
Michael J. Broyde

VII. Conclusion

When one reviews the rules found within Jewish law for waging war, one grasps a crucial reality of Jewish military ethics. The moral license that "war" grants a person or a country varies from situation to situation and event to event. The Jewish tradition treats different permissible wars differently. The battle for vital economic need carries with it much less of a moral license than the war waged to prevent an aggressive enemy from conquering an innocent nation. Jewish law recognized that some wars are simply completely immoral, some wars are morally permissible but grant a very limited license to kill and some wars are a basic battle for good with an enemy that is evil. Each of these situations comes with it a different moral response and a different right to wage war. In sum, it is crucially important to examine the justice of every cause. However, violence is the service of justice is not to be abhorred within the Jewish tradition.

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