Earlier this week, Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, gave a heartfelt speech where he called on both sides of the political rift surrounding the proposed judicial reform to lower the flames and build bridges above the disputes. “We are in the midst of fateful days for our nation and for our country,” Herzog said. “We have for quite some time now not been in a political debate but on the brink of constitutional and social collapse … we are on the verge of a violent clash—a powder keg…on the threshold of one man’s hand against his brother’s,” he stated, adding that both sides need to understand that if only one side wins … then all of Israel loses.
Are we really brothers? We certainly do not feel like brothers, at least not as it seems in protests and in clashes with authorities and the calls by political leaders to shed blood. So, are we brothers nonetheless?
The truth is that we are not. In its origins, the people of Israel came from different places, different tribes, and different cultures and faiths. Our ancestors formed a nation, but they did not come from the same family and there was no familial connection to keep them together at times of disagreement.
For this reason, whenever a dispute erupts among the people of Israel, it leads to fierce clashes, intense hatred, and a deep sense of alienation. The only way to solve these rifts is through acknowledging our origin, our consequent vocation, and by committing to carrying it out. Without all three, we will have no peace of mind and no peace. We can already hear voices among Israeli leaders calling for bloodshed “in order to save Israel’s democracy.” Unless we realize the purpose of our nation, we will fall once more, as we always have in the past, into such division that will bring upon us death and destruction.
Currently, many of us still feel as one nation, albeit a deeply divided one. Yet, that feeling is quickly dissipating in the face of slurs and hollers that stymie any attempt at unity and demand a total surrender to the dictates of the entitled. These people do not feel that we belong to one nation, even if officially we do.
This is why our only option to avoid yet another dismal chapter in the annals of our nation is to take up our vocation as a national task. Only if we return to our roots, to our legacy to the world—to be as one man with one heart and to love one another as ourselves in order to set an example for humanity—will we be able to overcome the rifts that tear us apart.
The divisions between us are not about this or that reform; they are reflections of our ingrained hatred, the same hatred that has haunted us since the inception of our people. The hatred we see on Israel’s streets today is the same hatred that divided and weakened the leadership of Israel’s first kingdom, and the same hatred that set off a bloodbath among the Jews inside the surrounded city of Jerusalem, which led to the fall of the Second Temple. It is always the hatred between us that inflicts on us adversity, and nothing else.
No foreign general or leader has ever been able to defeat Israel unless Israel first defeated one another and paved the way for a conqueror to come and plunge the relics. No leader ever turned against Israel unless he saw that Israel were weakened by their own discord. Today, we are paving the way for the next villain to come and exploit our disunion. But as then, so now, the new chapter of Israel’s chronicles of defeat will not be for the might of our foe, but for the infirmity of our union.