In November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had instructed the Mossad to "act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are." At the same time, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that all Hamas leaders are "living on borrowed time... the struggle is worldwide."
It has been reported that at approximately 8:30 a.m. PST, Hamas deputy leader abroad Saleh al-Anouri was killed in a targeted strike on a suburb of Beirut. He was the head of the Hamas political bureau, considered the head of Hamas in the West Bank, managed West Bank attacks for Hamas, and was one of the main financial cogs that arranged for money to be transferred to military operations for Hamas and Hezbollah. Although the IDF has yet to confirm it, Hamas and Reuters have each confirmed his death in the strike.
This was one of the heads of the snake of Hamas, a reptile of evil devoted to the destruction not only of Jews and Israel but of the Western world in favor of the Islamic theocracy that he sought. There can be no sorrow for his death.
But neither can there be any joy. I know that for many of us, there is an initial reaction to celebrate the death of this monster. But I pray that none of us rejoice in this, for the moment that we rejoice in the destruction of evil is the moment we become that evil. To destroy Hamas and kill its leadership is truly a mitzvah, a commandment, based on the instruction by God to destroy Amalek. But we cannot allow ourselves to take any joy in doing this.
Most of us saw and were disgusted by the videos of people dancing in the streets in Gaza, the West Bank, Iran, and more after the horrors of October 7. For anyone old enough, the videos after 9/11 of Arabs rejoicing and chanting “Death to America” will forever be emblazoned in our memories (even though YouTube and Google seem to have scrubbed them from easy access). Everyone I know viewed those images with disgust, and the one phrase I heard over and over to describe people rejoicing in that kind of destruction was that they were “animals." That to rejoice in death was below any kind of humanity.
Are we now to become animals ourselves, rejoicing in the deaths of our enemies? If so, then we have lost the greater war… the war for our own souls.
There is a teaching that cannot be repeated enough in these days of war. The Midrash teaches that the angels started to rejoice when Pharaoh's soldiers were drowned in the Sea of Reeds. God stopped them, saying that the work of His hands was being destroyed, and they wanted to sing hymns?
God showed us in that moment that we do what needs to be done... in that case the death of Pharaoh's soldiers, in our case the destruction of Hamas and the death of men like al-Anouri. But God also showed us that we cannot be joyous about killing anyone... even those as evil as Hamas who must be utterly and completely destroyed.
We must and will do what is needed, and Gallant and Netanyahu were clear that this includes the death of every Hamas leader. As Sebastian Gorka said after viewing the IDF film of the depravities and atrocities of October 7, we must kill them all. Like Amalek, we must blot out the remembrance of Hamas from the earth for the evils that they have perpetuated: the rapes, torture, kidnapping, murder, and depravities against civilians, women, elderly, and children. But for the sake of our own souls, let us not rejoice in this mission, lest we become the evil we seek to destroy.
Baruch Dayan Emet... Blessed is the One who judges in truth.
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