A few days ago, a heart wrenching story surfaced on Israeli media about a security guard at a supermarket who spotted a woman stealing from the shelves. He approached her and demanded that she open her handbag. When she did, he found inside a box of baby formula. When he asked her to return the box, the woman began sobbing and begged him for mercy. She explained that she had a baby at home, she had no milk of her own, and no money to pay for the formula.
The store owner did not press charges against the woman, but said that stealing food has become a commonplace phenomenon. He told a reporter, “Do you really think I want to take it away from them?! We are human beings and I, too, have children. On the other hand, if I make food thefts an acceptable conduct, I am putting myself in a difficult spot. It is very complicated.”
I think it is a disgrace that the State of Israel has come to such a point where people have to steal food to feed their children. We spend millions and billions on so many useless, totally redundant causes, but we do not help people who cannot buy food for their children? We, the Jewish people, who coined the terms mutual responsibility, charity, solidarity, and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” have come to the complete opposite of the tenets on which our nation was established. It is simply a disgrace.
There is only one reason for this: we have no heart. That is, we have hearts, but they are cold, careless, and cruel. We have more charities per capita than any other nation, more volunteers than in any other nation relative to population, but we still have so many needy people, and there are more and more of them.
Unless we correct our hearts, the number of destitute, sick, malnourished, and untended for elderly will continue to grow. If we do not prepare our hearts to care, we will not have a society where people live with dignity.
We need to teach ourselves to care. All the money and high-tech innovations in the world will not make Israel a better place. But if we teach ourselves solidarity, mutual responsibility, and compassion, we will have everything we need and no one will feel deprived or wanting.
Our country needs many more people who understand this and build the State of Israel according to these principles. Especially we, the Jewish state, cannot afford to remain indifferent to the disadvantaged in our country. We have a duty not only to our people, but also to the world—to set an example of solidarity and mutual responsibility, an example of love of others. If we show the opposite, we will pay heavily: our society will suffer, and the world will not forgive us for our bad example.
Posted on The Times of Israel, LinkedIn Newsletter, Facebook