Imagine a scenario in which Islamist terrorists have just taken control of a jumbo jet in the skies over Pennsylvania, killed the pilot and are careening towards a major metropolis in the US. Again. And imagine that US Air Force fighters are scrambled to intercept the hijacked passenger plane. Then, imagine that they are issued orders to shoot that passenger plane down, killing everyone on board - the hijackers along with their helpless hostages - in order to prevent it from reaching its destination. Of course, this is no imaginary scenario; this is exactly what happened when it became clear that United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked and heading for Washington, DC on September 11, 2001.
But now imagine that the US Air Force pilots sent to intercept the plane refuse to carry out their orders, because they believe it to be immoral to kill all of those innocent people on board. After all, they declare, the real target of the mission is just the terrorist, right? And the plane goes on to crash and kill hundreds of people on the ground.
This is only a partly imaginary scenario. Some irresponsible Israeli pilots have made just such a declaration.
As has been widely reported in Israel and abroad - where it does the most political damage - 27 Israeli pilots publicized a letter declaring that they would henceforth refuse to fly missions aimed at killing Arab terrorists who hide among Arab non-combatants. The insubordinate pilots, 18 of whom are not on active duty, wrote that such missions are "unethical", as they endanger and sometimes kill or wound innocent women, children and other civilians. Some of the pilots also admitted that their stance stems from their political philosophy opposing Jewish control of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
So that the implications here are crystal clear, consider this: If Osama Bin Laden were hiding in an apartment building in Ramallah and plotting a sequel to 9/11, Israel’s 27 "ethical" pilots would, by their own standards, refuse to bomb the building, for fear that nearby civilians would also be hurt or killed.
The Arab terrorists who have killed upwards of 1,000 people in Israel ever since they were allowed free reign in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1993 are Israel’s Bin Laden, Israel’s al-Qaeda. They have killed many Jews and others, and they will do so again, and again, and again unless they are stopped. Permanently.
If such terrorists seek refuge in an apartment building in an Arab city, then they have hijacked that building and are using it as a terrorist tool, as a haven for planning and executing mass murder against Israeli civilians elsewhere. And just like Flight 93 over Pennsylvania in 2001, that building must come down, along with the terrorists and their "hostages", if Israel is to save other innocent lives - the lives of its own children.
Or, as Israeli air force major (res.) Tzvi Shpiegel, dean of the Mevaseret Zion Yeshiva High School, put it: "If that's where they hide, then there is no other way to get them." Paraphrasing a Talmudic dictum, Shpiegel continued, "We must not have mercy on them, because then we will be cruel to ourselves..."
Thus, the left-wing pilots who signed the letter in question have shown, as Deputy Education Minister Tzvi Hendel (National Union) said, that their "ethical level... has dropped to an unprecedented low.... their actions are akin to wartime treachery."
The Air Force Commander General Dan Halutz commented in response to the "treacherous" letter that the Israel Defense Forces is, in fact, the most moral and ethical army in the world.
At the funeral for his son IDF Sergeant Avihu Keinan, who was killed in the line of duty in Gaza, Moshe Keinan rejected General Halutz’s boast. But not in the same way the 27 "rebel" pilots may have done.
"My son’s officer came and drew a map for me explaining the operation," Keinan said, "They went in here, and out here, and then through here. [I asked,] why didn't they drop a bomb on the building where the terrorist was? The commander lowered his head and did not answer." Keinan continued, "Because the IDF decided that Arab children were more important than the son of Moshe Keinan. That’s a moral army? Is this the way the French, the British or the American army acts? Is that morality?"
Moshe then sang his son a Yiddish lullaby, which he had sung to the infant Avihu:
"Mein yingeleh/Mein tayareh... you are holy for me...."
Why is Avihu Keinan, or any of the countless other Israelis who lost their lives at the hands of Arab terrorists - civilians and soldiers, children and old people - not more holy to those left-wing "rebel" pilots?