Israeli cities that were once considered symbols of Jewish-Arab coexistence are on fire. Riots and lynchings perpetrated by both sides have shattered what were perceived as peaceful neighborhoods. The large Israeli cities Haifa, Jaffa, Ramla, Acre, and Lod, burn in the ongoing barrage of thousands of missiles by Hamas terrorists targeting Israeli populations and the following military response in Gaza. Why is the bridge between both communities being consumed by flames of anger? Because there really was no such bridge or real coexistence. It has never been between us.
There were cops and guards who did not let resentment flare up and it worked to a certain extent until now, but this safety valve was simply released and exploded.
We like to whitewash or paint reality pink, but there is hatred toward us on the part of the Arabs, as there always has been. We need to talk about it, admit it, and understand that it is not accidental; we need to realize what the reason for it is. Only in this way will we be able to arrange a fundamentally corrected mutual relationship with the Arabs without clouding the truth with pretty tales and naive exclamations like, “Oh, how did that happen? After all, we got along with each other so nicely!”
We need to learn how to create a true friendly existence, how to build it and consistently nurture it. We need mutual desire to achieve it, otherwise it will not work. It requires readiness and a consensual decision that we are not prepared to continue in this constant life of conflict and war.
Our haters feel deep inside that we interfere with them, like a speck of grit in the eye that they must get rid of because it is unbearable. This is how they feel about us, like we are the cause of all their suffering. Even the small quarrels between them that have nothing to do with us, they still point at us to blame. And it is not just about our cousins in the mixed neighborhoods, but about all the citizens of the world.
In the depths of their hearts, Arabs and non-Arabs feel that we are the source of all their problems, even the most private ones. If they could, they would have killed us a long time ago, only they could not. Not because we are so smart and powerful, but because precisely from the small point called Israel something new needs to spread to humanity, a new form of relationship, a bond of heartfelt inner connection, which is the whole fix for the entire world.
One hundred years ago, foremost Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) wrote that Israel “Must present something new to the nations. This is what they expect from the return of Israel to the land! …Justice, and peace. And this wisdom is attributed to us alone.
“If this return is canceled, Zionism will be canceled altogether…And its residents are destined to endure much suffering. Undoubtedly, either they or their children will gradually leave the country, and only an insignificant number will remain, which will ultimately be swallowed among the Arabs.
“This would certainly prove to the nations the rightness of Israel’s return to their land, even to the Arabs. However, a return such as today’s does not impress the nations whatsoever, and we must fear lest they will sell Israel’s independence for their needs, needless to mention returning Jerusalem.” (“The Writings of the Last Generation.”)
Today the Jewish nation is deeply divided. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon us to be the people whose connections between its members are the most beautiful, the closest and the most corrected.
The beginning of repairing the rift rests within us and solely between us. From within us the power of oneness will spread in widening circles to the whole world. This is an order that cannot be changed; this is a supreme law of nature. First we need to reach the love of Israel within us, and later reach the love of the world, affection for all humanity, and adherence to the Supreme Power.