Military Victory and Military Ethics: Israeli and American Perspectives

October 19, 2016 | Moshe Yaalon and Michael Walzer
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In an in-depth conversation, the former IDF chief of staff and Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon and the American political philosopher Michael Walzer discuss the moral challenges posed by 21st-century warfare. Among other topics, Yaalon emphasizes the importance of Jewish values in maintaining the IDF’s moral integrity, arguing that the “starting point to winning legitimacy . . . is the basic belief in the sanctity of human life. Every soldier must at his core recognize that every human being is created equal, even the enemy.” But this principle must be coupled with an understanding that, in the Talmud’s phrase, “by being merciful to the cruel we might in the end be cruel to the merciful.” (Moderated by Fred Schwab. Audio, 101 minutes. Transcript available at the link below.)

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