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Op-Ed: The Torah teaches Hamas means robbery and injustice

According to the Torah, Hamas means robbery and injustice. The Gazan terror group Hamas lives up to the meaning of their name in biblical Hebrew perfectly.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

While speaking in English, one might not realize it but the name Hamas has hidden meanings aside from being the name of a terror group based in the Gaza Strip. In Arabic, Hamas is the Islamic Resistance Movement; it can also mean zealot, strength or bravery. But in the Torah, the term Hamas has the opposite meaning. If one reads the Torah portion of this week in English, Genesis 6:11 reads: “Now the earth was corrupt before G-d and the earth became full of robbery.”  

This is how the Torah describes the generation that witnessed the flood. However, if one reads the same sentence in Hebrew, one will find that the Torah uses the term Hamas to describe the robbery that existed on earth during the generation of the flood and this was one of the major reasons why G-d destroyed the world: “The Midrash teaches that they stole from one another in petty ways that were not subject to the authority of the courts.  Though this is not the gravest sin, it is morally damaging to the extreme because thievery within the letter of the law weakens the conscious and corrupts the social fabric.”  According to the Siftai Chachamim, a commentary that explains Rashi’s explanation that Hamas means robbery, Hamas does not only refer to robbery but injustice in general.  

If one reads the Torah, one cannot fathom a more suitable name for Hamas. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas stole UN food stamps so that their fighters could be well fed without caring if the civilian population in Gaza had enough to eat or not. When Palestinian citizens protested against the food situation, Hamas killed them.  Hamas does not grant Palestinians the right to live who dare to protest against their terrorist regime.  In this way, Hamas steals the lives of many Palestinians who view the world in a more enlightened manner than them.

However, after the operation ended, Hamas did not change course.  According to the Jerusalem Post, earlier this year, Hamas infiltrated an international aid organization called the World Vision Organization in Gaza and stole tens of millions of dollars, which it geared away from humanitarian aid and towards use for terror operations. The money that belonged to World Vision was supposed to pay for food, humanitarian assistance, and programs for disabled children. However, Hamas instead used the funds in order to buy weapons, build terror tunnels and to prepare for war with Israel.   This means that Hamas does not only wage numerous terror attacks that attack innocent civilians; they are also a gang of thieves that steal away both the lives and possessions of innocent civilians.

The primary victims of Hamas robbery are not the Israelis who are terrorized by Hamas attacks but rather the Palestinian children who are condemned to live under their rule. By indoctrinating children from the time that they are babies to hate Israel, to seek to wipe Israel off the map, and to train them to wage terror attacks against innocent civilians, Hamas also steals the childhood away from numerous innocent Palestinian children, who should be playing with dolls and cars rather than weapons.   By teaching children to hate instead of to build productive lives for themselves, these young Palestinian children either end up dead or in prison after waging or attempting to wage terror attacks. Instead of playing with friends and going to school in order to learn to be an educated person, these young people are condemned to misery and despair thanks to the brutal terror group known as Hamas.  This is the essence of spiritual robbery.

At the same time, as long as Hamas remains in power in Gaza, the coastal strip is full of injustice.  Aside from the numerous Israeli civilians who unjustly were killed, maimed or live in fear due to Hamas terrorism, homosexuality is illegal in Gaza. Women are banned from smoking hookah publicly, dancing, having male hairdressers, and there is segregation between the genders in school. Women are forcefully veiled, polygamy and arranged child marriages is the norm, and wives are routinely beaten and killed in honor crimes.  In addition, Gaza’s tiny Christian minority is heavily persecuted, alcohol is banned, and book censorship is widespread.  It is an Islamist totalitarian dictatorship where freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press is not respected. Thus, Hamas is the epitome of injustice and robbery in our times.  They remain true to the meaning of their name in biblical Hebrew.  

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JOL Blogger | Rachel Avraham

Rachel holds a masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University and a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. She is the author of Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media.

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