Rabbi Ophir Wallas of the Bnei David Military Mechina was caught on video teaching young would-be soldiers that Israelis are, from the halachaic point of view, permitted to wipe out Palestinians, and that only fear of massive retaliation prevents that.
Rabbi Wallas’ words can be heard here. They are taken from a longer lecture he has given his students, which – for those who have too much time on their hands – can be seen here. Here is my translation, with essential footnotes:
“In conquering the Land [of Israel] according to Nachmanides and Rashi [*], who say that the wars of today are also mitzvah wars for conquering the Land, I am beholden to nothing. This isn’t the law of the persecutor [**], right? What law are we dealing with? The laws of a mitzvah war, a war of occupying the Land. Even if I don’t conquer Gaza right now, [conquering it] is part of my ability to settle the Land of Israel, so it is also a part of the mitzvah of conquering the Land. And therefore it follows, there’s no other way; like, we’d have to kill them all. Because this is the difference between the Law of the Persecutor and mitzvah wars. […] A mitzvah war of conquering the Land, which is not limited to saving the people of Israel from their enemies, according to some of the Rishonim [***] I could, on the face of it and by the essential law, destroy, kill and cause to perish [****] all of them. I will not do so, because if I were to do so, and reject international treaties, then the State of Israel shall parish, unless we shall witness a miracle of miracles – and one must not trust in a miracle. And that’s the only reason I won’t do it.”
A few other notes are essential. First, and please bear with me, what is a mechina? Literally, it means a “preliminary school”, but in Israel it came to mean a school which prepares students who finished their high school studies for military service. While most Israeli Jews are drafted soon after finishing high school, a select few are allowed to study for one more year, and in this year they are supposed to be indoctrinated to become better soldiers. Most mechinas boast of a high percentage of graduates who go on to become officers and serve longer than draftees. With one exception, all mechinas are religious, and are in fact a form of yeshiva. Mechina teachers are public employees who get their salaries from both the Education Ministry and the Defense Ministry.