It is said that educated people do not fight. Because of it, Israel invests a great deal in the education of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. In recent years, the number of Palestinians studying under the Israeli curriculum has increased significantly. According to a story published in Haaretz, “In the past five years the number of such students in the … Israeli program has climbed 160 percent.” There is no question that Israeli schools and universities offer better education and more opportunities to develop academic and professional careers. However, this will not make Palestinians more moderate toward Israelis. If anything, they will use their knowledge to kill us more efficiently.
First of all, not only Palestinians, but all of us are motivated by ill-will, as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). Therefore, the more knowledge we have, the more power we have, and the more power we have, the more ruin we can bring upon others. In the case of the Palestinians, their knowledge will go toward building firearms and devising tactics to use against Israel and Israelis. If we expect gratitude, we should forget about it.
Second, the hatred that Palestinians feel toward Israel and Israelis cannot be mitigated through knowledge. Mitigating hatred requires a completely different kind of learning. To mitigate hatred, we need to learn specifically how to do that. We need to learn that we are all irreversibly connected, that everything we do affects everyone else and returns to us in an unbreakable cycle. In other words, we need to learn that the only way to improve our situation in the world is to improve the situation of everyone else.
Third, we need to learn that the irreversible connection among people also applies to nations and to all of reality. Therefore, we must recognize that whatever harm we inflict on the world will invariably return to us.
Finally, we must learn that all our conflicts, on every level—from the most personal to the international—happen for one and only purpose: to strengthen our connections. Every time we rise above a disagreement with someone, on any level, we strengthen our connection with that someone. Just as every couple that has been together for many years knows that the secret to a lasting relationship lies in the crises they have overcome together, relationships between countries and nations also strengthen through the trials and tribulations they endure.
Crises force us to increase the importance of our connection, which helps us overcome the dispute. When the dispute is over, we have a stronger connection than before because we have increased its importance in our eyes.
That said, no Palestinian will be willing to learn any of that unless we, Israelis, implement it among ourselves and set an example of the very thing we strive to teach. Unless we bridge the divisions in the Israeli society by increasing the importance of unity among ourselves, no one will believe in our sincerity, hatred toward us will grow, and all our efforts at making peace will fail.
Peace begins at home. Once we make peace among ourselves, others will want to learn from us and will therefore make peace with us. They will learn from us even if we do not teach, since our example will show the way. However, the opposite is also true: If we fight against each other, everyone will fight against us, as is the case today.
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