There is a new “weapon” that Palestinians use against Israelis: blinding lasers. Every night, residents of a certain Palestinian village direct strong lasers into the eyes of Israeli drivers in order to blind them and hopefully cause them to make an accident. So far, there has been no response on the part of the Israeli army, other than stating that the army “is working in a number of ways to uproot the phenomenon.” When people are blinded by hate, there is no end to what they will do to hurt their hated ones. Israel’s response should therefore incorporate two elements: retaliating against the terror and mitigating the hatred.
The first element is relatively straightforward. The response should be one that will deter the perpetrators from repeating their actions. Therefore, the rule of thumb here is simple: When someone comes to kill you, kill him first. In practical terms, it means that the army should fire at the sources of the lasers.
Nevertheless, we should not hope that curbing one mode of terrorism will prevent terrorists from finding other ways to terrorize and hurt Israelis. As long as there is unbounded hatred, Palestinians will find countless ways to hurt us.
Here is where we can make the real difference. The Palestinians’ hatred toward us is not because of a territorial struggle or any other reason they proclaim, even if they believe what they are saying. The Palestinians hate us because we hate each other. Their aversion to us reflects our aversion to each other.
This is true not only for the Palestinians, but for every non-Jew who hates Jews. To the extent that we hate each other, the nations of the world hate us. The higher the mountain of hate between us, the stronger the hatred toward us that we bring down on the nations. In fact, the name Mt. Sinai comes from the Hebrew words Mount of Sinaa [hatred]. Our sages explain that it is called so because of the hatred that came down from it to the nations of the world (Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Shabbat, 89a).
In short, we are generating hatred toward us through our own hatred of each other. We must understand that if we want to “defeat” terrorism, and all the hatred toward Jews and Israelis, we must defeat the hatred within us for each other.
Interestingly, when I say this to non-Jews, they often agree. But when I say this to Jews, they often become aggressive and venomous. They argue that I am making this up, and all the quotes I bring from centuries of our sages writing these exact words do not help. Once, after a lecture in New York, a Jew who refused to accept my words tried to physically assault me.
I can understand the resistance. If we accept this statement, it puts the responsibility for antisemitism, terrorism, and millennia of abuse that our nation suffered in our lap, the lap of the Jewish people, rather than to pin it on the aggressors. Declaring that Jewish inner hatred incites Jew-hatred among the nations pulls the rug from under the arguments that attribute antisemitism to religious, racial, economic, and social causes. It creates one common cause for all the cataclysms that have ever struck the Jewish people, and that cause is our own responsibility. I understand why this would be impossible to accept.
However, it is not my idea, but the idea of all our sages throughout the ages. The people who engendered the Jewish nation, who solidified its peoplehood, and who gave it its unique values and manners, all advocated this exact message: Sinaat Hinam [baseless hatred] has been our curse since our inception as a nation, and the only thing we need to cure.
Since we are full of hatred, it is hard for us to agree that hatred is the cause of our misfortunes. We tend to blame our troubles on the side we hate. But it is not this or that side that causes our troubles, but the hatred itself. As the two books I have written about it show (see links below), our spiritual leaders throughout the ages tried to teach this to us, yet we refused. We coined the tenet “Love your neighbor as yourself”; it is time we tried it out.
Read these books for more information on the responsibility of the Jewish people for the hatred toward them: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘑𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘊𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦: 𝘜𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘈𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘚𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘮, 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘚𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘮 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘑𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘥, and 𝘓𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘉𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘙𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴: 𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺’𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘳.