The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office explained today that it was absurd for South Africa to have interpreted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reference to “Amalek” as evidence of genocidal intent against Palestinians. Further, South Africa’s “false and preposterous charge reflects a deep historical ignorance,” which the Israelis correct by explaining: It was just a way of describing the savage Hamas attack of Oct. 7, and certainly not as a call for wanton killings. The Bible had said: “Remember what Amalek did to you,” so the Prime Minister was just reminding the country and the soldiers that the savage Hamas attack on Oct. 7 was like what the Amalekites had done.
However, what Netanyahu had actually said was that Hamas was an incomparably cruel enemy, and that Israel is “committed to completely eliminating this evil from the world. You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.” Perhaps Netanyahu simply forgot that the passage then has King Saul being commanded to destroy everything, to “put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” There are more than 23,000 verses in the Old Testament, but none so bloody as this one.