The results of the Israeli election had an interesting side effect: dissatisfied Israelis, presumably from the left side of the political map, have begun to explore the possibility of “quitting” Israel. They have set up Facebook groups with titles like “Leaving the Country Together,” where they debate where to go.
Apparently, there is more than just talk on the subject. This morning, the Population and Immigration Authority of Israel published an update (in Hebrew) to its announcement that “due to the high demand for passport renewals, Israeli citizens holding a foreign passport will be allowed to leave the country with their foreign passport.”
On the one hand, I think it is good that people are not indifferent. On the other hand, I do not think that a phenomenon of leaving one’s homeland, “quitting” it because of dissatisfaction with the choice of the majority of the people in a free and democratic election, exists anywhere outside of Israel. But Israel is indeed a free country; if they want to quit being here, I have no objection whatsoever.
Perhaps it is a Jewish trait, a characteristic obstinacy that makes people feel that if things do not go their way, they will move away. At the same time, this same phenomenon does not exist when the opposite happens, when the Left wins the election.
Another interesting phenomenon, which may not be exclusive to Israelis, is harsh criticism of one’s homeland while living there, and the lack thereof when living abroad. It is patently clear when seeing how Israelis criticize the government, police, justice system, education system, and basically every institution one can think of when living in Israel, while praising those very institutions when that same Israeli person has moved abroad.
I can understand why people on the Left leave when things do not go their way. Generally speaking, the Right strives to unite the Israeli society, while the Left strives to control it. When left leaning people are not in control, it becomes very difficult for them to stay here. If they give up all hope of regaining control, they quit. This is when they leave.
From the perspective of the world, I think it is better this way because if Jews do not want to unite, it is better for them and better for the world that they are not together and not in Israel. The hatred between Left and Right in Israel is so profound that it seems impossible to bridge it.
However, the hatred between us is exactly what we should overcome. If we use it correctly, rise above it and unite, we will become a model nation, a symbol of unity that the world will embrace. Still, who among us understands it? Very, very few, regrettably.
Before we understand that hate is given not for itself, but as a basis for building stronger unity above it, we will not be able to bridge the gaps between us. As we can already see, we will not even be able to share the same country.
Nevertheless, neither the State of Israel nor Jews overseas will be able to solve their problems before we realize that we must transcend our hatred. There cannot be love without hate because hate is the motive for nurturing love. This is why King Solomon said, “Hate stirs up strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Prov. 10:12). This is the formula for peace, the formula for unity, and the only principle that should guide our actions.