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אֵין הַמֶּלֶךְ נִלְחָם תְּחִלָּה אֶלָּא מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה.‏
וְאֵי זוֹ הִיא מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה?‏
זוֹ מִלְחֶמֶת שִׁבְעָה עֲמָמִים. וּמִלְחֶמֶת עֲמָלֵק.‏
וְעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיַּד צָר שֶׁבָּא עֲלֵיהֶם.

A priori, the king does not go to fight other than a War of Mitzvoh (Mandatory War). What is a War of Mitzvoh? This is the war against the Seven Nations30 or the war against Amalek or any war to assuage Israel of a persecutor. (Rambam Melachim 5)

Here Rambam speaks of a King and how he handles the two types of war. But what about times when there is no king?

What kind of Jewish government is needed for the obligatory/defensive war (Milchemet Chova) to be officially and Halachicly "Milchemet Mitzvah"?

  • Does it have to be a kingdom with a Jewish king? (for example, Yehoshua (and till Saul) wasn't anointed officially as a king)
  • Can it be under a cooperative government (aka the State of Israel's democracy)
  • Can it be under Gentile government (as in the Purim story), or if this C"V would happen in today's France against the Jews?
  • Based on the many talks that the Lubavitcher Rebbe had discussing about conducting defensive wars in the state of Israel even to the extent of violating Shabbat with pre-emptive strikes, it would appear not...unless you wish to claim that a King of Israel from the house of David was already present, soul dressed in a physical body, when the Rebbe was talking and writing about this subject so long ago. ;-) – Yaacov Deane May 8 at 16:53
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    For Milchemet Mitsva no king and no government is needed, but for Milchemet Hareshut its needed. See chinuch 425 for Milchemet mitsva and 527 for milchemet hareshut – kouty May 9 at 2:23
  • @kouty Can you pinpoint to the exact words that Chinuch understood in Rambam that answer the question, please, and maybe post it as an answer. – Al Berko May 9 at 18:49
  • I understand this by the difference between Tnae Hamitsva of Milchemet Mitsva and Reshut. – kouty May 9 at 18:52
  • @kouty BTW he doesn't speak of Mil. Chovah in general, only 7 nations as a specific Mitzvah, how about self-defence, or i'm missing something? – Al Berko May 9 at 18:54

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