Let me explain. This is something that actually happened, in World War One; Jews volunteered to fight with the Entente and many Jews volunteered on the Central Powers. Some could have served on the same fronts. What would Halacha’s opinion on this be? Should I serve and fight for what I think is the ‘greater good’ for the Jewish people, like the allied Jews did, or serve for whatever I thought the greater good was as the German Jews had, or not serve at all? Most importantly, if I did serve, would I be חייב מיתה?

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    My great great grandfather was one such Jew. He was a POW camp guard in the Austro-Hungarian army and guarded Russian Jews who he'd actually met prior. Note, are you referring to WWII or WWI? Because the Axis is a term from WWII.
    – Harel13
    Apr 30, 2020 at 4:58
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    Most of the times they were not asked, but conscripted. Apr 30, 2020 at 5:08
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    This happens in the Book of Kings all the time
    – Double AA
    Apr 30, 2020 at 12:39
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    In the book of Shoftim against bene Binyamin
    – kouty
    May 1, 2020 at 4:44
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    The main idea behind my question was, in the case of WW1, many Jews joined the British army in order to banish the Ottomans from Israel, who had been abusing the local Jewish population there. Would one theoretically be allowed to sign up to fight, even if it was highly probable that there would be other Jewish combatants serving somewhere for the other side?
    – user22192
    May 4, 2020 at 0:32

1 Answer 1


If the cause of your country is justified, you should fight. When countries are at war, individuals by necessity are subordinate to the national cause. See War and Peace.

Having said that, very often the cause for war has not been at all justified. The only measure we have for this is the acceptable norm at the time, which is not always easy to define.

  • The underlying concept seems sound but we don't typically pasken from novels, particularly those written by non-Jews Mar 22, 2022 at 18:07
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    If you click the link you will see that I am not paskening from a novel, nor by anything written by non-Jews.
    – tcdw
    Mar 23, 2022 at 19:43
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    I recommend editing your answer so people will know you aren't referencing the famous book.
    – Harel13
    Mar 23, 2022 at 20:10

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