Where I live (Israel), most everyone I know is busy trying to make sense of an insane situation. It’s not that anyone was surprised that violence has erupted once again in our tormented stretch of earth. It’s also not the mind-boggling cruelty demonstrated by hate-fed 13-15 year old children, or their families’ praise of their odious actions. More than anything, people in Israel are beginning to realize that we have entered a blind alley. When it becomes clear that dividing the land into theirs and ours, or staying put and maintaining military rule will both not work, it’s time to start thinking outside the box.
But first, we should take a look at previous attempts to see what didn’t work. We’ve tried applying military force to crush terrorists both inside and outside Israel. This hasn’t quelled terrorism. In fact, today there are more jihadists willing to give up their lives in order to take ours than in any time in recent history. We’ve tried political maneuvers; we’ve tried peace agreements, actually several of them, and not even one is still actually valid (though not all have been officially denounced by our co-signatories’ heirs). When agreements failed, we tried one-sided withdrawal (from Gaza), with appalling consequences. We’ve even tried developing a New Middle East, relying on technological entrepreneurship and the ample, cheap labor force of Gazans looking for provision. None of these ideas have worked. These days, no one even expects them to work, certainly not permanently.
The one thing that is common to all of the above solutions is that they required — or at least relied on — the other party’s good will. But in the absence of such a will, every agreement you attempt to implement is doomed before it has even started. Therefore, we need not look at the agreements we can or can’t achieve with our neighbors, but rather look at the agreements we can achieve with ourselves!
From the dawn of our tribe to our current times, unity, mutual responsibility, and camaraderie have been paramount to our success. Throughout the ages, we have developed scientific and academic skills above and beyond all other nations. We have presented the world with monotheism, humanism, socialism, and numerous life-saving inventions and eye opening discoveries. But while developing all those, we overlooked the one tenet that the world needs most today, and which is altogether absent on our entire planet: unity.
When I say unity, I do not mean unity against another, to defeat an adversary. This type of alliance has brought us to where we are, two world wars behind us and possibly en route to a third. The unity I am referring to is simply that: unity for the sake of unity.
Better yet, since we must have a reason for everything we do, let’s call it “unity for the sake of mastering it, and sharing it.”
Our tribe is fractured and divided beyond recognition. If we did not know better, we would probably never assume that Orthodox Jews and the Labor party liberals, for example, belong to the same faith, or that Jewish settlers and Meretz voters share the same origin? Even the relations between Israel and the diaspora is fraught with discord, and Israel itself is viewed by many as a dividing element among diaspora Jews.
However, we are still descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose legacy of mercy is embodied in the immortal words of Rabbi Akiva, “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is where our strength lies, in unity above all differences.
However, and this is important so I will repeat my above words: This unity must not be in order to defeat anyone, but simply in order to overcome our own exploding egos and create a viable, sustainable social fabric where Jews can live side-by-side in peace and harmony among themselves and with their neighbors. Subsequently, our goal must be to share that unity with anyone who is interested in embracing it. This, in itself, can dissolve the global campaign to demonize Israel in the eyes of the world.
Our motto should be something like, “When the going gets tough, the good get going,” because this is all we need to do, lend a friendly hand to one another, no questions asked. As we have been told a million times before, this unity will unleash all the powers we need in order to resolve our problems: social, economic, and political both internally and internationally.
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