This week my family and I hosted the parents of Shani Louk, the most famous victim of October 7. In the early morning that horrific day, she was shot in the head and murdered by Hamas terrorists, who then stripped her naked and took her corpse in a white pickup truck, with five terrorists sprawling their legs over her mangled and bloodied corpse, as her body was desecrated by hundreds of onlookers yelling “Allahu Akbhar.” At the Torah dedication that we completed last Monday night in front of 1,000 people and with a panel discussion with Robert Kennedy Jr., I said publicly that Shani is arguably the single most violated woman in world history.
Never before have some one billion people watched a video of an attractive young 22-year-old paraded around in her underwear as men beat her dead corpse in the name of glorifying their god.
Shani’s mother, Ricarda, is a German convert to Orthodox Judaism. I asked her in the panel discussion with Bobby Kennedy if she regretted moving to Israel and becoming Jewish. “No, never,” she responded. In echoing the most famous and eloquent speech of the Bible, delivered by King David’s Moabite great-grandmother Ruth, she said that the Israeli people are her people, she is a Jew, her remaining three children are Jewish, and she would live nowhere else.
She also revealed that the IDF had told her and her husband that two of the five terrorists shown in the video already had been eliminated. I expressed my satisfaction and said I hoped the other three would be killed by the IDF as well. She disagreed. “I don’t want to be angry. Whether they live or die is not my focus.”
What a great woman! Wow! Bobby Kennedy echoed that sentiment and said that he had worked for ten years to have Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian terrorist who had murdered his father, released from life imprisonment. (Bobby believes that Sirhan was only part of a larger conspiracy to murder his father.) Bobby spoke eloquently about the power of forgiveness.
But, respectfully, I would have none of it.
The Bible is clear: “When your enemy falls you should not rejoice.” I have no feelings of celebration or victory when the IDF kills Hamas terrorists. I am not happy about it and I would never gloat. Rather, with two sons fighting in the war as IDF soldiers, and with four children living in Israel, I simply am thankful that these monsters and savages cannot murder innocents any longer.
The idea of forgiving cold-blooded murder is deeply immoral and makes a mockery of the whole idea of good and evil.
I believe strongly in the concept of kosher hate and devoted an entire book to that title.
Just as there is kosher love, there is non-kosher love. And just as there is unkosher hate, there is also kosher hate.
Kosher love is the affection that man feels toward his wife. Non-kosher love toward his mistress. Kosher love is what we humans feel toward Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama. Non-kosher love is what the Germans felt toward Adolph Hitler or what many Palestinians feel toward the Hamas Hitler, Yahya Sinwar, whose life Israelis stupidly saved when they operated on him while he was in prison to remove a brain tumor.
Likewise, non-kosher hate is what the Klan feels toward blacks and Jews and what the American abominations like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar feel toward Jews and Israel. Kosher hate is what decent Americans feel toward Osama bin Laden and Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
Bobby Kennedy, who is profoundly eloquent on the subject of grief, having been subjected to more than anyone’s fair share, disagreed. “Shmuley, I won’t allow myself to ever hate. Once that poison gets inside you, you can’t control it, and it becomes all-consumming.”
The great Elie Wiesel, my mentor, hero, and beloved friend, once told me the same thing. I asked him if he hated the Nazis and Hitler. He said no, because hatred is a cancer that spreads.
It was the only time in my life that I disagreed with the great man.
Why should we believe that hatred is an emotion that cannot be focused, directed, and controlled? Why believe that hatred is only a cancer that spreads indiscriminately outside of any human control of agency? Can I not focus my hatred solely on the SS, the Gestapo, Al Qaida, the Klan, the Iranian terrorist government?
And once we say that hatred is something we should never entertain lest it consume us and have us hate innocent people, why not say the same thing about love?
No one would tell a wife, “Look, be careful falling in love with your husband because you won’t be able to control it and soon you’ll be having an affair with a co-worker.” Don’t love your children because soon you’ll fall in love with the Hitler youth.
We humans are fully capable of controlling whom we love, whom we admire, whom we respect, whom we detest, whom we approve of, and whom we hate.
I have zero hatred in my heart whatsoever toward Arabs, Palestinians, or Muslims. To the contrary, I love them as my equal brothers and sisters under God. When I see a Muslim woman in New York wearing a head covering, I often walk over to her to salute her for the proud and public display of her faith.
What I hate is Hamas. The monsters and savages who shot Shani Louk in the head, stripped her naked, and desecrated her body, all because she was guilty of one sin: being Jewish.
And I maintain, with all my heart, that those who do not hate evil are themselves immoral. If you don’t hate Hitler, you have no love for his victims. And if you don’t despise Hitler, you will not have a concomitant commitment to fighting his evil.
Since Israel’s catastrophic withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the Jewish state has gone to war against these terrorist monsters five times. Each time Israel has stopped the war after just a few days, or weeks, in the false belief that “mowing the lawn” will be enough to stop their annihilatory ambitions against Jews.
Then came October 7, and we learned that, without Hamas’s total final destruction, Jews will continue to be murdered by these savages for the next thousand years.
This is exactly why at Casablanca, without even consulting his ally Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt declared that he would demand nothing short of unconditional surrender from the Nazis. Churchill was convinced FDR had made a huge mistake and begged him to recant. Unconditional surrender meant that the Nazis would fight to the last man and the last bullet to defend their fuehrer, a prediction that proved absolutely correct. Indeed, the Nazis continued to fight even after Hitler had blown his brains out in a tunnel underneath the Reichstag on April 20, 1945. Still, the American president refused. FDR understood that without finishing off Nazism completely, the Western democracies would be fighting the German monsters for decades or perhaps centuries to come.
It was only with the complete and utter destruction of Nazis and German militarism completely that the German people themselves eschewed all Nazis and purged Nazism — at least partially — from within.
Unless Hamas is destroyed to the last terrorist fighter, or with an unconditional surrender, Israel must understand that, God forbid, its fate remains the same.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of Englewood is the author of “The Israel Warrior” and “Kosher Hate: Fighting Bigotry and Antisemitism.” Those who wish to help equip Israeli army soldiers please go to www.thisworld.us/donate.