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Amalek (Hebrew: עֲמָלֵק, Modern Amalek, Tiberian ʻĂmālēq) is a figure in the Hebrew Bible. According to the Book of Genesis and 1 Chronicles, Amalek was the son of Eliphaz and the concubine Timna. Timna was a Horite and sister of Lotan. Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12; 1 Chr. 1:36) who was the chief of an Edomite tribe (Gen. 36:16).

At Genesis 36:16, Amalek is described as the "chief of Amalek", and thus his name can be construed to refer to a clan or a territory over which he ruled. Josephus calls him a 'bastard' (νόθος), though in a derogative sense.[1] A late extra-biblical tradition, recorded by Nachmanides, maintains that the Amalekites were not descended from the grandson of Esau but from a man named Amalek, from whom the grandson took his name.


The Amalekites were a people mentioned a number of times in the book of Genesis, and considered to be Amalek's descendants. In the chant of Balaam at Numbers, 24:20, Amalek was called the 'first of the nations', attesting to high antiquity.[2]

The name is often interpreted as "dweller in the valley",[3][4] and occasionally as "war-like," "people of prey", "cave-men"[5] In some rabbinical interpretations, Amalek is etymologised as a people am, who lick blood,[6] but most specialists regard the origin to be unknown.[7]

In Arabic, the corresponding term for the Biblical Amalek is Imlīq, whose descendants Al-′Amālīq were early residents of the ḥaram at Mecca, later supplanted by the Banu Jurhum, and formed one of the first tribes of ancient Arabia to speak Arabic.[8]

Some interpret Genesis 14:7, which refers to the "land of the Amalekites", to mean that the Amalekites existed as early as the time of Abraham, in the region that would later become the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. This view is similar to Nachmanides' claim of an origin for the Amalekites earlier than Esau's grandson. However, the passage in question does not require this interpretation as it may be referring to the region by a name from a later era. However, the Arab historian Abu al-Hasan 'Alī al-Mas'ūdī, citing 'traditional' Arab history, relates that the Amalekites did indeed exist at this early period having originated in the region of Mecca before the time of Abraham.[citation needed]

Gustave Doré, The Death of Agag. "Agag" may have been the hereditary name of the Amalekite kings. The one depicted was killed by Samuel (1 Samuel 15).

In the Pentateuch, the Amalekites are nomads who attacked the Hebrews at Rephidim[9] in the desert of Sinai during their exodus from Egypt: "smiting the hindmost, all that were feeble behind," (Deuteronomy 25:18). The Tanakh recognizes the Amalekites as indigenous tribesmen, "the first of the nations" (Numbers 24:20). In the southern lowlands too, perhaps the dry grazing lands that are now the Negev, there were aboriginal Amalekites who were daunting adversaries of the Hebrews in the earliest times. "They dwelt in the land of the south...from Havilah until thou comest to Shur" (Numbers 13:29; 1 Samuel 15:7). At times said to be allied with the Moabites (Judges 3:13) and the Midianites (Judges 6:3). One may consider the hypothesis that each of their kings bore the hereditary name of Agag (Num. 24:7; 1 Sam. 15:8). They also attacked the Israelites at Hormah (Num. 14:45). Saul and his army destroyed most of the people, and earned God's wrath for leaving some of the people and livestock alive (1 Samuel 15:8-9) against God's command. Saul and the tribal leaders also hesitated to kill Agag, so Samuel himself executed the Amalekite king (1 Samuel 15:33).

Agag's death might have been expected to have been the end of the Amalekites; however, they reappear in later periods described in the Bible (see below). Even Samuel said to Agag: "As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women"(1 Samuel 15:33) before he "hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD."

War against the Amalekites[edit]

The descendants of Amalek are described in the Bible as a cruel people that attacked the children of Israel right after they were free from slavery and left Egypt (Exodus 17:8). Hence the children of Israel were commanded to destroy the seed of Amalek (Ex 17:8-16). The Amalekites lived in the south of the land of Israel during the period of the settlement of the children of Israel in the Land of Israel to the period of the monarchy. In the Jewish folklore the Amalekites are considered to be the symbol of evil.

The Biblical relationship between the Hebrew and Amalekite tribes was that the Amalekite tribes without provocation pounced on the Hebrews when they were weak. The Amalekites became associated with ruthlessness and trickery and tyranny, even more so than Pharaoh or the Philistines, and required a ruthless response:

"8 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
"14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord Jacob! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." (Exodus 17)

This enmity is repeated in Numbers 24, in Balaam's fourth and final oracle:

"20 Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said, Amalek was the first among the nations, but its end is utter destruction.

And again in the law, in Deuteronomy 25:

"17 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18 how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget."

The fighting is mentioned again in Judges 3:13, in the Judgeship of Ehud, and again under Gideon, as the Amalekites allied with the Midianites (Judges 6:3, 6:33, 7:12). This enmity is also the background of the command of the Lord to Saul:

"2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." (1 Sam. 15:2-3).

Saul's failure to obey this command cost him his kingship. Note the commentary on this total destruction later by Samuel, when Saul summons him from the dead through prophetic vision literary tool:

"16 And Samuel said, 'Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day." (1 Sam 28)

Flavius Josephus also commented on this event:

"He betook himself to slay the women and the children, and thought he did not act therein either barbarously or inhumanly; first, because they were enemies whom he thus treated, and, in the next place, because it was done by the command of God, whom it was dangerous not to obey" (Flavius Josephus, Antiquites Judicae, Book VI, Chapter 7).

The destruction of animals and booty, however, was not universal at Saul's time. This was evidently a command for a particular battle. His contemporary David handled the matter differently a few years later.

"8 Now David and his men went up and made raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land of old, as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. 9 And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish."

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "David waged a sacred war of extermination against the Amalekites,"[9] who may have subsequently disappeared from history. Long after, in the time of Hezekiah, five hundred Simeonites annihilated the remnant "of the Amalekites that had escaped" on Mount Seir, and settled in their place (1 Chr. 4:42–43).

Survival of the Amalekites[edit]

It is not clear if the historical Amalekites were exterminated or not. 1 Samuel 15:7–8 states that "He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword." This implies that after Agag had been killed so were all the people of Agag who consequently became extinct. In a later story in the time of Hezekiah, however, the Simeonites annihilated a group of Amalekites on Mount Seir and settled in their place: "And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day." (1 Chr. 4:42–43).

Haman and the Book of Esther[edit]

In the Book of Esther, the arch villain is Haman, an Amalekite (his origin is evident from the epithet the Agagite—i.e., descendant of the agags, Amalekite kings) who led the plot to kill the Jews. Because the Lord promised to "blot out the name" of Amalek (Exodus 17:14), it is customary when the book of Esther is read at the Purim festival, for the audience to make noise whenever "Haman" is mentioned, to desecrate his name.

Ethical issues[edit]

Some commentators have discussed the ethics of the commandment to exterminate all the Amalekites, including the command to kill all the women, children, and the notion of collective punishment.[10]

Maimonides explains that the commandment to destroy the nation of Amalek requires the Jewish people to peacefully request that they accept upon themselves the Noachide laws and pay a tax to the Jewish kingdom. Only if they refuse must they be physically killed.

Some commentators, such as Rabbi Hayim Palaggi (1788–1869) argued that Jews had lost the tradition of distinguishing Amalekites from other people, and therefore the commandment of killing them could not practically be applied ("...We can rely on the maxim that in ancient times, Sennacherib confused the lineage of many nations." [Eynei Kol Ḥai, 73, on Sanhedrin 96b])

Commandments to exterminate Amalekites[edit]

Of the 613 mitzvot (commandments) followed by Orthodox Jews, three refer to the Amalek: to remember what the Amalekites did to the Israelites, not to forget what the Amalekites did to Israelites, and to destroy the Amalekites utterly. The rabbis derived these from Deuteronomy 25:17–18, Exodus 17:14 and 1 Sam. 15:3. Rashi explains the third commandment:

From man unto woman, from infant unto suckling, from ox unto sheep, so that the name of Amalek not be mentioned even with reference to an animal by saying "This animal belonged to Amalek"..

As enumerated by Maimonides, the three mitzvot state:

598 Deut. 25:17 — Remember what Amalek did to the Israelites
599 Deut. 25:19 — Wipe out the descendants of Amalek
600 Deut. 25:19 — Not to forget Amalek's atrocities and ambush on our journey from Egypt in the desert

Amalekites in the Bible[edit]

Kings of the Amalekites[edit]

  • Agag (1 Sam. 15:8)

Listing of Amalek/Amalekite references in Hebrew Scripture[edit]

Allies of the Amalekites[edit]

In the books of 1 Samuel and Judges, the tribe of Kenites are associated with the Amalekites, sometimes their allies, sometimes allied with the tribes of Israel.[citation needed] The Amalek people are invariably enemies of Israel. Saul's successful expedition against the unidentified "city of Amalek," in the plain (1 Sam. 15) resulted in the capture of the Amalekite king, Agag. In Judges 6-8 in the story of Gideon, the Amalekites and the Midianites are said to have amassed a visible army of at least 135,000 encamped against Israel.

In Rohl's Reconstruction[edit]

David Rohl moves the Amalekites from the Negev and the Sinai to the northern Land of Israel, in the neighborhood of Mount Carmel and Jenin. See New Chronology (Rohl).

Amalekites in post-biblical era[edit]

In Jewish tradition, the Amalekites came to represent the archetypal enemy of the Jews. The concept has been used by some hassidic rabbis (particularly the Baal Shem Tov) to represent atheism or the rejection of God. Nur Masalha, Elliot Horowitz and Josef Stern suggest that Amalekites have come to represent an "eternally irreconcilable enemy" that wants to murder Jews, and that Jews in post-biblical times sometimes associate contemporary enemies with Haman or Amalekites, and that some Jews believe that pre-emptive violence is acceptable against such enemies.[11]

Armenians as Amalekites[edit]

This ascription of Armenians is seen in the context of indifference, which was widely criticized by the Israeli historian Ya'ir Oron in his book The Banality of Indifference that dealt with the inaction of overall members of the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide in the beginning of the 20th century.[12]:124

This indifference was noted inside the Jewish community of the Ottoman Empire, during the 1909 massacre of Armenians in Adana by Itamar Ben-Avi, the first native speaker of Modern Hebrew in the newspaper HaZvi. In an editorial named "We", he intervened to speak about the attitude of the Jews during the upheaval and widespread carnage that ensued during the Ottoman countercoup of 1909, while protesting the general indifference to calls to help alleviate the plight of the Armenians. Outlining the attitude and loyalties of the Ottoman Jews at the time, with regards to other subjects, he wrote: “We did nothing, because we were timid, because the matter did not affect us directly, utterly. Unfortunately these Turks were not Jews. Unfortunately we had covert sympathy for the enemy of the Turkish Parliament, Abd-Hamid II. Sympathy because we believe that Abd-al Hamid would always be our friend, our generous and merciful supporter. That is why we stood aside; that is why we chose to be, in the words of the wise commander, the rearguard; that is why we continue today, two weeks after the revolution and a week after the victory of the 'Young Turks' to be indifferent. We are watching from the side and waiting. We are a peculiar people. Yes we![12]:125 Regarding the attitude of the Jews towards the Armenians, he wrote: “A slight grimace on their lips, a short heartfelt sigh, and nothing more. The Armenians are not Jews, and according to folk tradition the Armenians are nothing more than Amaleks! Amaleks? We would give them help? To whom? To Amaleks? Heaven forbid!”.[12]:126

The Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906[13] does not mention the Armenians as being Amalekites.


The tradition of identifying Armenians as Amalekites goes back to the 10th century, when it was first attested in the Byzantine Hebrew chronicle Josippon attributed to the Southern Italian Jew Joseph ben Gorion.[14]:122[15]

The Italian rabbi Obadiah ben Abraham of Bertinoro wrote to his father of the sects in Jerusalem, to which he had made aliyah late in the 15th century, he listed among the Christians "the Latins, Greeks, Jacobites, Amalekites, Abyssinians." It may be that Byzantine Jews made the identification of Armenians and Amalekites to distinguish the former from the Greek Orthodox Christians, and its continued use seems primarily aimed to register the idea that the Amalekites still existed within the realm of Christendom.[14]:122–3

The Byzantine Emperor Leo V the Armenian, who ruled from 813 AD to 820 AD until his assassination by one of his top generals, Michael the Amorian, was known as "the Amalekite" apparently because of his approval of the Islamic prohibition against the depiction of sacred images.[16]

In 1839 the British Jewish-Christian missionary Joseph Wolff was struck by what he thought remarkable, namely

'that the Armenians, who are detested by the Jews as the supposed descendants of the Amalekites, are the only Christian church who have interested themselves for the protection and conversion of Jews.'[14]:10 [17]

Other missionaries visiting the Holy Land that same year, namely the Scottish missionaries Andrew Bonar and Robert Murray M'Cheyne suggested that what they saw as “the peculiar hatred which the Jews bear toward the Armenians may arise from a charge often brought against them, namely that Haman was an Armenian, and that the Armenians were the Amalekites of the Bible, attributing this to the fact that Armenians were the first nation to adopt Christianity in 301 AD.[14]:10–11 Late in the nineteenth century, the Russian traveller of Jewish origin Joseph Judah Chorny reported hearing from the Jews of Georgia that the Armenians were descendants of the Amalekites.[14]:124 In another anecdote, a Jewish traveler reported that among Armenians who traded with Jews in eastern Galicia, there was a practice of mourning Haman’s death on Purim, and lighting candles in his memory.[14]:124

Nazis as Amalekites[edit]

"Davidster" (Star of David) by Dick Stins is a World War II memorial in The Hague. The text at the side (in Dutch and Hebrew) is from Deuteronomy 25:17,19 - "Remember what Amalek has done to not forget."

The Nazis and Adolf Hitler have been referred to as Amalekites.[18]

A prominent 19th and early 20th century rabbi, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, claimed upon Kaiser Wilhelm's visit to Palestine in 1898, three decades before Hitler's rise to power, he had a tradition from his teachers that the Germans are descended from the ancient Amalekites.[19]

Samuel's words to Agag: "As your sword bereaved women, so will your mother be bereaved among women." (Samuel 1:15:33) were quoted by Israeli President Itzhak Ben-Zvi in his handwriting in response to a telegram sent by Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann's wife pleading for clemency after he was taken to Israel and sentenced to death.[20][21]

According to the Hebrew Bible, Amalek lived in Canaan:"Amalek dwells in the land of the Negev" (Numbers 13:29). The Israelites were instructed to kill all those who dwelled in Canaan: "thou shalt save alive nothing that breathes" (Deuteronomy 19:16) otherwise "it shall come to pass, that I shall do to you, as I thought to do to them" (Numbers 33:56). The Hebrew Bible ascribes Haman, who tried to commit a genocide of the Jewish people, to Agag, whom the Israelites, led by Saul, failed to kill. According to these verses Hitler may be seen as a result of this failure.

Palestinians as Amalekites[edit]

Nur Masalha has written that:

"Frequently Jewish fundamentalists refer to the Palestinians as the 'Amalekites' … of today… According to the Old Testament, the Amalek … were regarded as the Israelites' inveterate foe, whose 'annihilation' became a sacred duty and against whom war should be waged until their 'memory be blotted out' forever (Ex 17:16; Deut 25:17-19)…. Some of the [modern] political messianics insist on giving the biblical commandment to 'blot out the memory of the Amalek' an actual contemporary relevance in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.[22]

The Palestinians have been associated with Amalek since 1974 when Rabbi Moshe Ben-Tzion Ishbezari of Ramat Gan made the association in a book.[23] The equation began to circulate in Gush Emunim circles, and its full implications were spelled out by Rabbi Yisrael Hess in 1980.[24] A former campus rabbi of Bar-Ilan University, Hess published in the university's student paper in February 1980 an article on "The Genocide Commandment in the Torah",[25] in which he concluded that:

'The day is not far when we shall be called to this holy war, to this commandment of the annihilation of Amalek.'

Hess's reference to Amalekites was later taken in Israel to be an allusion to the Palestinian Arabs, especially since he spoke of a jihad.

'Against this holy war God declares a counter jihad . .in order to emphasise that this is the background for the annihilation and that it is over this that the war is being waged and that it is not a conflict between two peoples. . God is not content that we annihilate Amalek -'blot out the memory of Amalek' - he also enlists personally in this war . .because, as has been said, he has a personal interest in this matter, this is the principal aim.'[26]

In 1982 Danny Rubinstein, in his book On the Lord's Side argued that this notion permeates the Gush Emunim movement's bulletins, citing one such article on 'The Right to Hate' which affiremed:

"In every generation there is an Amalek. The Amalekism of our generation finds expression in the deep Arab hatred towards our national revival in our forefathers' land."

In 1985 Uriel Tal, in his Foundations of a Political Messianic Trend in Israel,[27] argued that Hess's position is to be contextualised within a totalitarian messianic force, whose process he summed up as follows.

  • Palestinians in the Occupied Territories were to be reduced to the halakhic status of resident alien.
  • The promotion of Arab 'transfer'
  • The implementation of the commandment of Amalek, involving the 'annihilation' of Palestinian Arabs.[28]

Ron Geaves also writes that "in settler circles, the Palestinians are likely to be identified with the Amalekites', and citing the same pamphlet from the campus rabbi attached to Bar-Ilan University, adds that the message is passed on through 'the religious schools where boys are taught that the Arab is Amalek."[29]

After Baruch Goldstein's massacre of Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Rabbi Arthur Waskow argued that Goldstein had decided to "blot out the memory of Amalek" by machine-gunning the Palestinian worshippers, and commented:

"So then, in our generation, for some Jews the Palestinians become Amalek. Some Palestinians are terrorists? Some Palestinians call publicly for the State of Israel to be shattered? The archetypes of fear slide into place: all Palestinians are Amalek. And the fantasies of the powerless become the actions of the powerful. For in our generation, Jews have power."[30]

After the death of Yassir Arafat, a declaration was issued by 200 rabbis of Pikuach Nefesh asserting that the anniversary of the death of 'this Amalek of our generation' should be celebrated as 'a day of rejoicing'.[31]

Zionists as Amalekites[edit]

The anti-Zionist Haredi rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum denounced the proposed draft of Haredi men by the Israel Defense Forces by saying "the Zionists came from the seed of Amalek. There has never been such a sect that caused so much damage to the Jewish people."[32] A senior rabbi in Israel's Shas party, Shalom Cohen, publicly labeled Religious Zionists as Amalek, but later clarified that his remarks were aimed only at The Jewish Home party, not all Religious Zionists.[33] Another rabbi associated with Shas, Shimon Badani, referred to Finance Minister Yair Lapid and The Jewish Home party as Amalek.[34]

The Neturei Karta are a Haredi group known for their radical opposition to the state of Israel and extreme wariness with regard to non-Haredi Jews. Historically, Neturei Karta equated Zionism with Amalek and Nazism.[35] For some Neturei Karta rabbis the very word 'amalek' is read in gematriya to mean 'politics', which in their view is something pious Jews should never engage in, since politics for them constitutes galut, or exile.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Louis H. Feldman, '"Remember Amalek!": Vengeance, Zealotry, and Group Destruction in the Bible According to Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, Hebrew Union College Press, 2004 pp.8-9
  2. ^ J. Macpherson, 'Amalek' in James Hastings,(ed.) A Dictionary of the Bible: Volume I (Part I: A -- Cyrus), Volume 1, University Press of the Pacific, Honolulu, (1898) 2004, pp.77-79,p.77.
  3. ^ "Easton's Bible Dictionary". Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Kabbalah and Exodus,Weiser Books 1988 p.101.
  6. ^ David Patterson, A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp.43,244.
  7. ^ M. Weippert, Semitische Nomaden des zweiten Jahrtausends. Biblica vol. 55, 1974, 265-280, 427-433
  8. ^ Elise W. Crosby,Ubayd ibn Sharīyah, The History, Poetry, and Genealogy of the Yemen: The Akhbar of Abid B. Sharya Al-Jurhumi. Gorgias Press LLC, 2007 p.81 n.65 Imlīq is a back-formation from Amālīq, which was considered to be a broken Arabic plural.
  9. ^ a b "Jewish Encyclopedia article on Amalekites". Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  10. ^
    • Divine command ethics: Jewish and Christian perspectives, Michael J. Harris, pp 137-138
    • The Bible's Top Fifty Ideas: The Essential Concepts Everyone Should Know, Dov Peretz Elkins, Abigail Treu, pp 315 - 316
    • The ethics of war: shared problems in different traditions, Richard Sorabji, David Rodin, p 98
    • Theory and practice in Old Testament ethics, John William Rogerson, M. Daniel Carroll R., p 92
  11. ^
    • Masalha, Nur, Imperial Israel and the Palestinians: the politics of expansion, Pluto Press, 2000, pp 129–131.
    • Stern, Josef, "Maimonides on Amalek, Self-Corrective Mechanisms, and the War against Idolatry" in Judaism and modernity: the religious philosophy of David Hartman, David Hartman, Jonathan W. Malino (Eds), Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004 page 360-362
    "The example concerns the set of biblical commandments … centered on Amalek, the ancient nation that ambushed Israel during the Exodus from Egypt… What does it mean to 'blot out the name of Amalek'? We have evidence of what this meant for biblical Israel … where the commandment is taken literally to mean: destroy by actually killing every Amalekite, man, woman, and child…. Some rabbis allegorize Amalek, taking it as a eupemism for the evil inclination; others have it symbolize the enemies of Israel throughout history; yet others make it the personification of evil…. There are also more specific historical identifications of the people of Amalek. It is well known that in medieval rabbinic literature Esau, and his land Edom, are typologically identified with Rome and, in turn, with Christianity. It is less widely known that Amalek … also came to be conflated with his ancestor and identified with Rome and then Christianity. By the early medieval period, the descendants of the ancient nation of Amalek were identified by some Jewish authors as the Armenians…. Jewish authors could put a biblical face on this overarching foe by identifying it with Amalek and find hope for ultimate victory in the biblical promise that 'God is at war with Amalek from generation to generation' (Ex. 17:16)."
    • Hunter, Alastair G. "Denominating Amalek: Racist stereotyping in the Bible and the Justification of Discrimination" in Sanctified aggression: legacies of biblical and post biblical vocabularies, Jonneke Bekkenkamp, Yvonne Sherwood (Eds), Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003, page 99-105.
    "The Amalekites could well be regarded as the archetypal victims in the Pentateuch, in that divine instructions to dispose of this people are given on more than one occasion… They also symbolize a further classic device: the rhetorical move … of portraying the victim as aggressor in order to justify his/her elimination…. For most Jews .. .the denunciation of Haman the enemy is part of the light-hearted celebration of a rather 'laid back' festival. But there are more sinister implications which have in recent years emerged on the political scene …. In the early 1900s Rabbi Hayim Soloveitchik of Brisk argued that … there was a possibility of contemporary war against Amalek … Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik used this position in the early 1940s to contend that the Allied war against Nazi Germany could be understood in Jewish law as a war against Amalek… [regarding the Sept 11 attacks] a couple of 'position pieces' draw disturbing parallels between the suicide plots and the enemy Amalek. The first is .. written by Rabbi Ralph Tawil, in which the writer … comes perilously close to equating President George Bush's war against terrorism with Israel's command to eradicate their troublesome enemy."
  12. ^ a b c Ya'ir Oron, The Banality of Indifference:Zionism and the Armenian Genocide, Transaction Publishers, London, 2002, p.126.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c d e f Elliott S. Horowitz,Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence, Princeton University Press, 2006
  15. ^ Poliak, Abraham N. "Armenia." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 472-474. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
  16. ^ Alice-Mary Talbot (ed.), Holy Women of Byzantium: Ten Saints' Lives in English Translation, Dumbarton Oaks, 1996 pp.172-3 n.60
  17. ^ Joseph Wolff (1839). Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff. p. 255. 
  18. ^
    • Open wounds: the crisis of Jewish thought in the aftermath of Auschwitz, David Patterson, p 216
    • Jewish literacy: the most important things to know about the Jewish religion, Joseph Telushkin, p 36
    • The annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry, Ephraim Oshry, p 172
  19. ^ The First Word: Are Jews still commanded to blot out Amalek? - Jerusalem Post
  20. ^ Carmel, Yoseph, Itzchak Ben Zvi from his Diary in the President's office , Mesada , Ramat Gan, 1967 , page 179
  21. ^ "Trial and History, Menahem Moutner Editor, The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 1999, pages 395-421". Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  22. ^ Nur Masalha, Imperial Israel and the Palestinians: the politics of expansion, Pluto Press, 2000, pp 129-131.
  23. ^ Nur Masalha The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism in Palestine-Israel, Zed Books,
  24. ^ Robert Eisen The peace and violence of Judaism: from the Bible to modern Zionism, Oxford University Pres, 2011 p.152.
  25. ^ Yisrael Hess, Mitzvot Hagenocide Batorah, in Bat Qol, (Bar-Ilan University)) February 26, 1980.
  26. ^ Nur Masalha The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism, Zed Books, 2007 pp.150-1, p.199.
  27. ^ Uriel Tal, Foundations of a Political Messianic Trend in Israel, in The Jerusalem Quarterly, Number 35. Spring 1985.
  28. ^ Nur Masalha The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Zed Books, 2007 p.151.
  29. ^ Ron Geaves, Islam and the West post 9/11, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004, p 30.
  30. ^ Alastair G. Hunter, '(De)nominating Amalek, Racial Stereotyping,’ in Jonneke Bekkenkamp, Yvonne Sherwood (eds.)Sanctified Aggression: Legacies of Biblical and Post Biblical Vocabularies of Violence, T&T International/Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003 pp.92-108, pp.103-104, p.104.
  31. ^ Elliott S. Horowitz Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence, Princeton, University Press, 2006, p.3.
  32. ^ "Satmar: IDF draft worse than annihilation". 
  33. ^ "Shas rabbi says 'Amalek' remarks only refer to Habayit Hayehudi". 
  34. ^ "Shas Rabbi Calls Religious Zionists 'Animals,' 'Idiots'". 
  35. ^ Gershon Greenberg, 'Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Thought About the Holocaust since World War Two:The Radicalized Aspect,' in Steven T. Katz (ed.), The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology, New York University Press, 2005 pp.132-159, p.136.
  36. ^ Steven V. Mazie, Israel's Higher Law: Religion and Liberal Democracy in the Jewish State, Lexington Books 2006 p.57.


  • The Punishment of Amalek in Jewish Tradition: Coping with the Moral Problem, Avi Sagi, Harvard Theological Review Vol.87, No.3 (1994) p. 323-46.

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