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Episode No. 602
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly--Sep 13, 2002
© Rabbi Jack Moline


ABERNETHY: Rabbi Moline, where do you come out? You serve a conservative congregation, not reformed or orthodox. What does your tradition say?

Rabbi JACK MOLINE: We have conflicting values here as well, it's hard to make a decision. Our tradition through the Talmud indicates that if someone is coming to kill you, you should rise up early in the morning and kill him first. It's not a case that you have to wait to be attacked before you can act in self-defense. On the other hand, is our concern for innocent life -- the concept of "Pikuach nefesh" -- of saving a soul. If these weapons of mass destruction are deployed because we are not entirely successful in our objectives in Iraq, the first people to suffer are going to be the people of the Middle East, particularly the Israelis and the Palestinians.

ABERNETHY: And you have a special concern about that?

Rabbi MOLINE: I have a particular, special concern. And I think Muslims around the world and here in America have that concern as well -- in a way that Christians may not.


Rabbi MOLINE: You may be disingenuous when you suggest that this would normalize that act by naming all those counties that possess those weapons. You overlook the fact that we've called for peace and frequently found responsive voices. We haven't have felt the need to consider this kind of an act. It's murder when you go in to do something for the sake of your principles or your value. It's self defense when there is a clear and present danger. And I think morally, that's the case we have to consider right now and it's agonizing.


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