If there is one consensus among all the political parties in Israel, it is that a new nuclear deal between the US and its partners and Iran is bad for Israel. I do not dispute this view, but I think it misses a crucial point. First, we need to understand that Iran’s nuclear ambitions stem not only from a fanatical zeal to annihilate the Jewish state. More than religious fanaticism, it is politics. The Iranians are very clever and very well-grounded people. Their threats and their nuclear weaponization are political means to an end, which is to become a powerful player in the global arena.
Therefore, even if they do have nuclear weapons, I doubt they will use it because it will hurt their interest; they will lose more than they will gain. They will pester us and hurt us in various ways, but they will not put themselves at risk.
Therefore, in terms of political strategy, Israel should do what it can to stall Iran’s progress as much as it can. At the same time, we must remember that Iran, too, will only go so far in its extremism.
But there is something more important than trying to prevent Iran from getting the A bomb. We need to understand our own role in the global scheme of things, and play our part. If we play it correctly, we will solve our problems without any wars or external conflicts.
The world is built in such a way that if you want the good to overpower the bad, you need to play by the rules that govern reality. You cannot make your own rules and expect to win. When it comes to playing by the rules that govern reality, we Jews have a crucial role, and this is the part that we must play.
The situation on the ground before us changes according to the way that we Jews relate to one another. The better we relate to one another, the better our situation will be. Better yet, the better we relate to one another, the better will be the situation of all of reality, not just our own, but in the entire world.
The first step toward doing this is to understand that we cannot destroy anything because all parts of reality are required in order for humanity to reach its goal. What is required, however, is for all the parts to connect to one another correctly.
A correct connection means that we relate to everything in reality that we regard as bad as an opportunity, as a call to increase the good so that it covers it. By bad and good I am referring to one thing only: bad means hatred and division between people, and good means unity and concern for one another. Therefore, for every bit of hate that we find among us, we make a joint effort to cover it with care, or as King Solomon said (Prov. 10:12), “Hate stirs up strife, and love will cover all crimes.”
We, Israel, must begin this special kind of work, which is currently nowhere to be found, and demonstrate how we transcend our negative feelings toward each other. We will be able to do this only if we elevate the value of unity and concern for one another above all other values. This is why Rabbi Akiva said that the all-inclusive rule of the Torah—our code of law—is “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Once we begin to work in this way, even before we actually establish a society that operates this way, by simply trying to raise mutual concern above mutual hatred, we will project a positive influence on the entire world.
The world’s eyes are always on Israel. Its opinion about us reflects our opinion of each other. Currently, we slander, despise, and detest each other, and the world feels likewise about us. We can proclaim that we are like everyone else, but it is undeniable that the world is always focused on us, and nothing we can do will change it. Since we are always at the center of attention, what we display is what the world thinks of us.
Therefore, if we resolve to rise above our hatred and nurture solidarity and unity instead of division and derision, the world will notice right away and recognize and appreciate our effort. If we make that effort, the bad example we are setting now will change into an example of unity, solidarity, and mutual concern.
In that case, the fact that the world is watching us will work in its favor and in ours. Just as currently the world is following our bad example and is therefore full of strife, if we unite, it will learn from our example and cover the crimes with love, to use the words of King Solomon, the wisest of all men.
In conclusion, Iran is not our problem. Neither are Hezbollah, Hamas, or the Palestinian Authority. If we make peace with one another and cultivate inner unity and solidarity above all our different views and perspectives, everyone will appreciate and welcome our existence as a model country for the world.
A young woman holds a poster with portraits of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a Protest gathering against Israel in downtown Tehran, Iran on Aug. 9, 2022. (Photo by Sobhan Farajvan / Pacific Press/Sipa USA)