‘Do not forget what the Amalekites did to you. We remember, and we are fighting,’ Israeli prime minister says
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday did not provide a clear response to an offer by Hamas for a mutual release of all hostages, as he quoted the biblical injunction on the Amalekites tribe and sought to justify his actions in Gaza.
“We are discussing the issue,” he said when asked about the potential deal in a press conference, adding that he cannot share intelligence and other considerations. Discussing the terms of a potential deal publicly “will not help to realize” one, he added.
The prime minister also refused to directly answer whether he bears responsibility for the Oct. 7 onslaught by Hamas, but said: “After the war everyone will have to give answers, myself included.”
Netanyahu said a ground invasion of attacks by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip did not pose a risk to the safety of the captives, and mentioned that their top priority is to destroy Hamas and the second is to bring back Israeli captives.
He said the entire country was united in the fight, and made a reference to the Torah, saying: “Do not forget what the Amalekites did to you.
“We remember, and we are fighting.”
Ameliketes in Torah
In late 11th century BC, a decision was made to completely eradicate the Amalekites, an ancient nomadic tribe described in Torah, or the Old Testament, as relentless enemies of Israelites.
This decision, which called for the “indiscriminate killing of everyone, from men to women, children to infants, and various animals,” was believed to be a command from the Lord Yahweh (I. Samuel, 15/3).
The directive was executed in full, with the exception of the well-fed animals, and even infants were not spared.
“In contrast, when the Amalekites took control of Israelite cities, they spared women and took people of all ages as captives before departing on their way.” (I. Samuel, 30/2).