(Yet) Another general election is coming up in Israel in less than three months. As we have seen over the past recent general elections, all of which happened in the last two years, a new campaign brings with it new parties. And as we have seen, these parties turn out to be ad hoc initiatives, which often fall apart soon after the election or, perhaps, last just until the next election.
Jews have always been opinionated people; it’s our nature. However, when the only purpose of establishing new parties is to politically eliminate other parties or other people and to take control instead, nothing good can come out of such political maneuvers. If there is any purpose to them, it is to discover that this road has no way out; it will amount to nothing. The only question is how soon we will discover it.
You cannot achieve anything by splitting the society. You also cannot establish a solid and stable party when you have dozens of other parties whose sole purpose is to ruin one another. We are only splintering our society to the point where we will be compelled to agree that we cannot build anything this way.
At the same time, we also cannot agree on anything, although we know how destructive division is to our society. What do we do? We realize that we cannot reconcile our differences, yet we must find a way to coexist despite the fragmentation. When we acknowledge this, we will realize why we are so divided—since this is the only way that we can build unity.
We must understand that without division, there is no unity. If we have no disagreements, we can live peacefully next to each other, but not with each other. We may live side by side, but not in any form of unity, but as neighbors who ignore one another, oblivious to each other’s existence. If this were the case, we’d be like different animal species sharing the same habitat, yet are separated from one another.
Humans aren’t animals. If we were, we wouldn’t evolve the way we have; we wouldn’t have developed civilization and we wouldn’t have developed global interdependence. Humans are meant to mingle because only mingling, connecting, and disagreeing force us to find a tighter bond than separate animal species cohabitating.
The process of forced unification is very meaningful. It’s the only way we can come to feel consciously what animals feel instinctively: that we are all connected. Instead of sensing that connection and following it instinctively, and therefore unconsciously, we humans must toil on our connection, exert for it, and overcome hatred and conflicts. In the process, we become aware of all the intricacies in our connection, cherish it, and comprehend it on levels that no animal can. This is the advantage of man over beast: the profound understanding of the makeup of life. But it happens only if we 1) reveal the separation that exists between us, and 2) exert to overcome it.
The Jewish people, or more correctly, the ancient Israelites, were the first to achieve this unity, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, when we connected “as one man with one heart.” Only once we did that, we became a nation. Immediately afterwards, we were instructed to reflect that unity to the rest of the world, or as the Torah phrased it, be “a light unto nations.”
It is therefore no wonder that we find that the Israeli society is more divided than any other society. The conflicts manifest in us more than anywhere else precisely so we will set an example of rising above them. We will never be able to eliminate them, since then we will have no need to unite. All we will be able to do is realize that our common goal is to be a light of unity for the nations and because of it—and for no other reason—unite among us.
I have no timeline for the completion of this process; I don’t know how long it will take, or how much pain the people of Israel in the State of Israel will have to endure before we realize what it is we have to do. Either way, unity will be the end result, and it will also be the solution to our problems. I hope we come to it sooner rather than later.
Happy New Year to all.
[An Israeli soldier arranges ballot papers inside a mobile voting booth, as Israeli soldiers vote two days before polling stations open in the rest of Israel, at a military post outside the northern Gaza Strip, in southern Israel April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen]