Israel and Jewish Law: The Obligation of Self-Defense
The Torah ascribes infinite value to each human life, so much so that saving a life takes precedence over most of its most fundamental laws. That is what makes the following halacha (Torah law) so very striking:
When it is a city close to the border, then, even if they want to come only for the purpose of [taking] straw and stubble, we desecrate the Shabbos because of them; for [if we do not prevent their coming] they may conquer the city, and from there the [rest of the] land will be easy for them to conquer.
(Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim 329:6)
The Torah’s ruling reflects the fact that it is far better to fight an enemy who is still outside your borders - and while those borders are still defensible. As terrible as war is, it is far more terrible when you are no longer in a position to win.
Land for Peace? The Torah’s view.