The Jerusalem Flag March that Israel holds every year on Jerusalem Day took place this week. As is the case almost every year, there were heated debates over the course of the march, should it go through certain parts of Jerusalem that were more politically sensitive and so forth. The Israeli government insisted that the march will follow the original plan as a sign of patriotic resilience against political pressure from the far left and from Palestinian leaders and their supporters in Israel. However, the route of the march is the least important point in this debate. The insistence on the route is nothing but a smokescreen for the fact that the country is losing territory to the Palestinians in the south, in the north, and basically everywhere. Because we do not know why we are here, we have no strength to insist on our presence and fight for it.
The pressure from the Palestinians and from the world has placed us in a position where we feel we must apologize for being here. If this is the case, then it is only a matter of time before Israel loses its Jewish majority. If we wave the Israeli flag without knowing what Israel means, then it is nothing but a political gesture.
Israel’s strength will never come from superficial gestures. Nor will it come from military strength. Israel’s power depends on the strength of its spirit. If we know what is our duty and insist on carrying it out, nothing will defeat us. In fact, no one will fight against us, and everyone, and first and foremost the Palestinians, will support us.
The root of Israel is the union our ancestors had achieved at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where they bonded “as one man with one heart.” The people of Israel contain within them descendants from all the nations of the world. When we first became a nation, those descendants decided to transcend their different backgrounds, clashing cultures, and countless beliefs, and place unity above all other tenets and values.
The Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 88) writes that God “forced the mountain on [the people of Israel] like a vault” and said that if we accept the law of loving others as ourselves, very well. “But if you do not,” He warned, “there will it be your burial.” Once we agreed and became the most unlikely nation in the history of humanity, whose basis was the idea of unity above division and hatred, He ordained us to be a model of unity so that humanity could heal from its ills, or as Prophet Isaiah (42:6-7) described it: I will appoint you as … a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”
Because unity is the root of our nation, and it is our duty to be a model of unity, our national goal should be to mend the divisions among us so as to help the entire world unite above the countless divisions that are spreading like a brush fire these days. Only when we stop fighting against each other and begin to restore the unity that our ancestors had once possessed will the world stop fighting and the nations will make peace with one another. Until then, nations will continue to blame us for their woes and accuse us of warmongering.
This is why it is imperative that we understand our duty and insist on carrying it out. This is also why if we do so, nothing will defeat us, as I wrote above, and no one will fight against us. On the contrary, the entire world will support us, and first and foremost our neighbors, the Palestinians.
Israeli right wing youths chant slogans while waving flags at Damascus gate In Jerusalem. Around 70,000 Jewish nationalists marched through and around Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday afternoon marking 55th Jerusalem Day, some of them chanted racist slogans and also clashed with the Palestinians and police. (Photo by Eyal Warshavsky / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)