Israel Shahak claims in his Jewish History, Jewish Religion (1994, p.91) that "according to the Jewish religion, ... a Jew who murders a Gentile is guilty only of a sin against the laws of Heaven, not punishable by a court", and that "to cause indirectly the death of a Gentile is no sin at all", while "the murder of a Jew is a capital offence." Is this true?


  • It happens in Torah law that something is absolutely strictly forbidden but punished differently after the fact depending on whether it happened to a Jew or a non-Jew. That is because sometimes Torah commandments apply more strictly between those who believe in the Torah than those who don't. For instance the obligation to bring back a lost object applies more strictly between Jews (who return objects to each other) than between a Jew and a non-Jew (since the latter don't have the same legal obligation)
    – mbloch
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 8:08
  • 1
    are you asking whether it is "murder" as a technically labeled cause of action under law, or whether it is punishable as a crime with whatever other label is used or whether it is condoned and not considered a crime/sin?
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 10:20
  • 3
    Does your question take into account that it used to be (and in very limited capacity remains) that the Jewish and Gentile legal systems were separated? The implication namely is that the question often is whether something should be handled by the Gentile courts or whether it is a matter of the Beth Din. it is not clear from your question whether the legal context is taken into consideration
    – RonP
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 10:57
  • 1
    When beis din kill someone for murder, they do so on behalf of the murdered man, beis din have no authority to act on behalf of a murdered non-Jew, however. It is probably worthwhile noting that according to the Meshech Chachmah, for a Jew to murder a non-Jew is such a great sin that even the natural death of the Jew would not expiate him for this sin.
    – pcoz
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 0:20


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