Happy Independence Day!
Each year around this time comes a day when we can proudly display our sympathy with Israel. On this day, we (try to) put aside our differences regarding our Jewish homeland and celebrate the fact that we have one. The Israeli Independence Day is a reminder we mustn’t take Israel for granted because only a few decades ago we didn’t have such a home, and the consequences were tragic.
But 67 years after its establishment, can we say that Israel is independent? Could Israel manage without America’s military and financial aid? Could it thrive without exporting its goods and services throughout the world, or importing them from the world over?
Israel is not alone in its dependence. The whole world is interdependent. Even the mighty US of A would be in bad shape were it not for its ties with China, Japan, India and Europe. But while there is no independence, there is certainly a way we can feel safe and secure, and this is where we Jews can excel.
Our nation was established on the tenet, “love your neighbor as yourself,” when we united “as one man with one heart” and set a precedent by building a society that relied on mutual responsibility. Today’s world needs mutual responsibility even more than we needed it back then. All nations are reliant on all other nations, yet strive to ruin one another as if this won’t ruin them in the process. Should one of them succeed, the rest of the countries will collapse like a deck of cards. But what can the nations do? If they cannot cultivate mutual responsibility, what can they cultivate but mutual animosity?
This is where we Jews come in. The global rise in anti-Semitism is a bane that we can turn into a boon if we act wisely. As the world accuses us that we are using Jewish solidarity to promote Israeli interests, we should display that solidarity, rather than shy away from it, and set an example of unity. If we cast away the apologetic tone and explain that this unity is how we should all live—all nations of the world—the world will listen.
We have given to the world luminaries a thousand times more than our proportion of global population—the world is not cheering. We have given to the world the idea of loving another as yourself—they all embraced it, but could not implement it.
This ability to love others is the gift they want from us, so we must teach ourselves once more how to accomplish it, and share this wisdom with them. When we display such unity among us, it is all the teaching that they need. When we unite not for the sake of prevailing over others, but for the sake of prevailing over our own disputes, we become “a light unto nations,” a beacon of hope that the world can be a place where all are happy and safe in a united world.
This will be our true Day of Independence.