An Israeli student of mine, who has been living in Silicon Valley for quite some time, described the situation between American Jews and Jewish Israelis living in the US in the following words: “As an Israeli, I feel that I have no connection to American Jews. I am in a community of Israelis, we speak Hebrew, live the Israeli culture, the news in Israel … and it feels like a completely different nation.
I think it is an accurate depiction: These are two different nations, two different nations with a similar history and similar names, but they have grown so distant that they are worlds apart.
In fact, this is how it should be. We came from the various nations that occupied ancient Babylon and joined into a single nation when we agreed with Abraham’s teaching that mercy and friendship were the values to live by. Later, under Moses, we pledged to unite “as one man with one heart.” We fought to maintain and solidify our unity for centuries, but eventually, we succumbed to the hatred that prevailed among us before we first came to Abraham, and this is where we stand today.
While we were united, the nations saw that peace was possible, that there could even be love among sworn enemies, and Israel became a role model nation, a pilot society, a miniature implementation of world peace. Later, when we failed, we failed the whole world, and it hates us for it.
Now, it waits for us to reinstate the covenant between us and become a role model nation once again. It won’t forgive us for not trying, and it won’t forget our debt to humanity. It doesn’t care that American Jews hate Israelis who come to live there. If there is no unity among Jews, the world hates them, since they dim all hope of peace and unity. If they unite, they are what they were meant to be, “a light unto nations,” and the world gives them its full support.
The Jewish nation must bring about shalom [peace], from the word shlemut [wholeness], the wholeness of all of humanity above all differences. Antisemitism is the world’s way of telling us off, admonishing us for not trying to unite. If Jews in America, from every faction and denomination, bridge the rifts between them, their future will be bright and beautiful. If they do not, they can already see where this is going.
Israeli flags are flown from a car during a pro Israel rally and a protest against Antisemitism in Los Angeles, California on May 23, 2021. After 11 days of war Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire. Hamas has fired more than 4,000 rockets aimed at Israeli cities, most of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. (Photo by Ronen Tivony)