As we evidently see, the State of Israel is unlike any other country. We’re trying to conduct ourselves like the rest of the world, but we’re not; this is why we have been in a political limbo for the past several years. The problem is that we don’t know what we should be like, so we look for role models in the world around us.
However, they are not right for us, and we are seeing the results.
Therefore, I think our government needs to conduct itself in two parallel routes, one that follows a maximum plan, and one that follows a minimum plan. The maximum plan is the nation in its ideal state of solidarity and union; the minimum plan is sustaining ourselves until we get there.
The minimum plan has two primary objectives: defense and life. Defense means securing Israel’s borders and addressing military threats to its population. Life means seeing that the economy as a whole is functioning, including the job market, industry and agriculture, and housing, and to maintain the healthcare and welfare systems. As stated, the overall objective of the minimum plan is to sustain us until we realize the maximum plan.
The maximum plan relates to the ultimate goal of the State of Israel, namely to bring the people of Israel to complete unity and solidarity, to the point of realizing the motto of the Jewish people: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To achieve this, the government must establish an educational system that pertains to all ages—from kindergarten through school, higher education, work, and even retirement homes.
Currently, the nation is in dire need of unity. Its factions are divided and hate each other’s guts. They undermine one another and in the process, they weaken the entire country. Therefore, our survival as a sovereign state depends on our solidarity and unity. If we generate them, we will thrive and prosper. If we do not, we will be overrun by our multiple enemies from without and from within.
Moreover, the nature of our people does not permit us to acknowledge that someone else is right and we are wrong. It is with good reason that the Torah refers to the Jews as a “stiff-necked people” (Ex 32:9), and it is not about to change. Therefore, any plan to generate unity must take into consideration that it must build this accord atop existing, persisting, and even increasing discord. While this is clearly a formidable challenge, the other option is the dissolution of the State of Israel.
In light of all this, the maximum plan will detail and implement the steps toward establishing initial unity, based on the understanding that we are dependent on each other, and either we all succeed or we all fail. Subsequently, the plan will outline the stages of enhancing and solidifying that unity using instances of discord and disputes as incentives for enhancing our unity.
To succeed, the entire nation must commit to the process. If only some of us seek to establish unity, and the rest of us do not, the process will fail. In his essay “Mutual Responsibility,” the great 20th century kabbalist and thinker Yehuda Ashlag, aka Baal HaSulam, offered a poignant analogy from The Book of Zohar pertaining to our mutual responsibility: “If a part of the nation does not want to keep the mutual responsibility … they cause the rest of the nation to remain immersed in their filth and lowliness [of self-interest] without finding a way out of their filth. Therefore, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai [author of The Zohar] described mutual responsibility as two people sailing in a boat, when one of them begins to drill a hole in the boat. His friend says, ‘Why are you drilling?’ The other replies, ‘Why should you care? I am drilling under me, not under you!’ So the friend replies, ‘You fool! We will both drown together in the boat!’”
Right now, we’re sinking. We’re drilling holes in our boat out of vindictiveness, and we don’t realize, or don’t care that in the process, we are drowning ourselves, as well. Still, we haven’t sunk. If we pull together, we will cruise ashore. If we stay apart, we’ll sink for sure. This is why I believe that the government must run the maximum plan and the minimum plan concurrently, with the goal of bringing the people of Israel to the finish line of mutual responsibility and love of others as soon as it possibly can.