A Jew who murders a Gentile is guilty only of a sin against the laws of Heaven, not punishable by a court. To cause indirectly the death of a Gentile is no sin at all.
Thus, one of the two most important commentators on the Shulhan Arukh explains that when it comes to a Gentile, ‘one must not lift one’s hand to harm him, but one may harm him indirectly, for instance by removing a ladder after he had fallen into a crevice .., there is no prohibition here, because it was not done directly: He points out, however, that an act leading indirectly to a Gentile’s death is forbidden if it may cause the spread of hostility towards Jews.
A Gentile murderer who happens to be under Jewish jurisdiction must be executed whether the victim was Jewish or not. However, if the victim was Gentile and the murderer converts to Judaism, he is not punished.
When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed… Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized … In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good.
Rabbi Shim’on used to say: “The best of Gentiles – kill him; the best of snakes dash out its brains.”
As for Gentiles, the basic Talmudic principle is that their lives must not be saved, although it is also forbidden to murder them outright. The Talmud itself~~ expresses this in the maxim ‘Gentiles are neither to be lifted [out of a well] nor hauled down [into it]‘. Maimonides explains:
“As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war … their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written: ‘neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow’ – but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow.”
In particular, a Jewish doctor must not treat a Gentile patient. Maimonides – himself an illustrious physician – is quite explicit on this; in another passage he repeats the distinction between ‘thy fellow’ and a Gentile, and concludes: ‘and from this learn ye, that it is forbidden to heal a Gentile even for payment…’
However, the refusal of a Jew – particularly a Jewish doctor – to save the life of a Gentile may, if it becomes known, antagonize powerful Gentiles and so put Jews in danger. Where such danger exists, the obligation to avert it supersedes the ban on helping the Gentile. Thus Maimonides continues: ‘ … but if you fear him or his hostility, cure him for payment, though you are forbidden to do so without payment.’
The 14th century Arba’ah Turirn and Karo’s Beyt Yosef and Shulhan ‘Arukh.19 Beyt Yosef adds, quoting Maimonides: ‘And it is permissible to try out a drug on a heathen, if this serves a purpose’; and this is repeated also by the famous R. Moses Isserles.
Desecrating the Sabbath – that is, doing work that would otherwise be banned on Saturday – becomes a duty when the need to save a Jew’s life demands it.
The problem of saving a Gentile’s life on the Sabbath is not raised in the Talmud as a main issue, since it is in any case forbidden even on a weekday;
The most up-to-date Halakhic position on these matters is contained in a recent concise and authoritative book published in English under the title Jewish Medical Law. This book, which bears the imprint of the prestigious Israeli foundation Mossad Harav Kook, is based on the responsa of R. Eli’ezer Yehuda Waldenberg, Chief Justice of the Rabbinical District Court of Jerusalem. A few passages of this work deserve special mention.
First, ‘it is forbidden to desecrate the Sabbath … for a Karaite.’ This is stated bluntly, absolutely and without any further qualification. Presumably the hostility of this small sect makes no difference, so they should be allowed to die rather than be treated on the Sabbath.
As for Gentiles: ‘According to the ruling stated in the Talmud and Codes of Jewish law, it is forbidden to desecrate the Sabbath – whether violating Biblical or rabbinic law – in order to save the life of a dangerously ill gentile patient. It is also forbidden to deliver the baby of a gentile women on the Sabbath.’
Sexual intercourse between a married Jewish woman and any man other than her husband is a capital offense for both parties, and one of the three most heinous sins. The status of Gentile women is very different. The Halakhah presumes all Gentiles to be utterly promiscuous and the verse ‘whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue [of semen] is like the issue of horses’40 is applied to them. Whether a Gentile woman is married or not makes no difference, since as far as Jews are concerned the very concept of matrimony does not apply to Gentiles (‘There is no matrimony for a heathen’). Therefore, the concept of adultery also does not apply to intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman; rather, the Talmud equates such intercourse to the sin of bestiality. (For the same reason, Gentiles are generally presumed not to have certain paternity.)
This does not imply that sexual intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman is permitted – quite the contrary. But the main punishment is inflicted on the Gentile woman; she must be executed, even if she was raped by the Jew: ‘If a Jew has coitus with a Gentile woman, whether she be a child of three or an adult, whether married or unmarried, and even if he is a minor aged only nine years and one day – because he had willful coitus with her, she must be killed, as is the case with a beast, because through her a Jew got into trouble’ The Jew, however, must be flogged, and if he is a Kohen (member of the priestly tribe) he must receive double the number of lashes, because he has committed a double offense: a Kohen must not have intercourse with a prostitute, and all Gentile women are presumed to be prostitutes.
According to the Halakhah, Jews must not (if they can help it) allow a Gentile to be appointed to any position of authority, however small, over Jews. (The two stock examples are commander over ten soldiers in the Jewish army’ and ‘superintendent of an irrigation ditch’.) Significantly, this particular rule applies also to converts to Judaism and to their descendants (through the female line) for ten generations or ‘so long as the descent is known’.
Gentiles are presumed to be congenital liars, and are disqualified from testifying in a rabbinical court. In this respect their position is, in theory, the same as that of Jewish women, slaves and minors; but in practice it is actually worse. A Jewish woman is nowadays admitted as a witness to certain matters of fact, when the rabbinical court ‘believes’ her; a Gentile – never.
The Talmud bluntly forbids giving a gift to a Gentile … a Jew may give a gift to a Gentile acquaintance, since this is regarded not as a true gift but as a sort of investment, for which some return is expected. Gifts to ‘unfamiliar Gentiles’ remain forbidden.
Taking of interest. Anti-Gentile discrimination in this matter has become largely theoretical, in view of the dispensation (explained in Chapter 3) which in effect allows interest to be exacted even from a Jewish borrower. However, it is still the case that granting an interest-free loan to a Jew is recommended as an act of charity, but from a Gentile borrower it is mandatory to exact interest. In fact, many – though not all – rabbinical authorities, including Maimonides, consider it mandatory to exact as much usury as possible on a loan to a Gentile.
Lost property. If a Jew finds property whose probable owner is Jewish, the finder is strictly enjoined to make a positive effort to return his find by advertising it publicly. In contrast, the Talmud and all the early rabbinical authorities not only allow a Jewish finder to appropriate an article lost by a Gentile, but actually forbid him or her to return it.
Fraud. It is forbidden to defraud a Jew by selling or buying at an unreasonable price. However, ‘Fraud’ does not apply to Gentiles.
However, robbery of a Gentile by a Jew is not forbidden outright but only under certain circumstances such as ‘when the Gentiles are not under our rule’, but is permitted ‘when they are under our rule’.
It is therefore clear that – exactly as the leaders and sympathizers of Gush Emunim say – the whole question to how the Palestinians ought to be treated is … simply a question of Jewish power: if Jews have sufficient power, then it is their religious duty to expel the Palestinians.
There is also a series of rules forbidding any expression of praise for Gentiles or for their deeds, except where such praise implies an even greater praise of Jews and things Jewish.
In §322, dealing with the duty to keep a Gentile slave enslaved for ever (whereas a Jewish slave must be set free after seven years)
In §545, dealing with the religious obligation to exact interest on money lent to Gentiles, the law is stated as follows: ‘That we are commanded to demand interest from Gentiles when we lend money to them, and we must not lend to them without interest,’
In explaining the ban against delaying a worker’s wage (§238) the author is careful to point out that the sin is less serious if the worker is Gentile… Similarly, the prohibitions against giving misleading advice, hating other people, shaming them or taking revenge on them (§§240, 245, 246, 247) apply only to fellow-Jews.
The ban against following Gentile customs (§262) means that Jews must not only ‘remove themselves’ from Gentiles, but also ‘speak ill of all their behavior, even of their dress’.
Judaism is imbued with a very deep hatred towards Christianity … In fact, it dates from the time when Christianity was still weak and persecuted (not least by Jews), and it was shared by Jews who had never been persecuted by Christians or who were even helped by them. Thus, Maimonides was subjected to Muslim persecutions by the regime of the Almohads and escaped from them first to the crusaders’ Kingdom of Jerusalem.
According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt of rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources which mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the Talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.
The attitude of Judaism towards Islam is, in contrast, relatively mild. Although the stock epithet given to Muhammad is ‘madman’ (‘meshugga’), this was not nearly as offensive as it may sound now, and in any case it pales before the abusive terms applied to Jesus. Similarly, the Qur’an – unlike the New Testament – is not condemned to burning. It is not honored in the same way as Islamic law honors the Jewish sacred scrolls, but is treated as an ordinary book. Most rabbinical authorities agree that Islam is not idolatry (although some leaders of Gush Emunim now choose to ignore this). Therefore the Halakhah decrees that Muslims should not be treated by Jews any worse than ‘ordinary’ Gentiles. But also no better.
The above was taken from chapter 5 of “The Laws against Non-Jews” from Israel Shahak’s book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, which you can find here: