The past several years have seen a growing political chaos in Israel. Four elections in just two years are too much for any country. But even after the fourth election, there is no stable government, it is torn from within, threatened from without, and the prevailing sentiment is that everyone disagrees with everyone else and detests everyone else. There is only one solution to the impasse: stop imposing incompatible modes of government that are good for other nations, but not for Israel, and adapt the political system that suits the nature of the people.
Israel’s multiple-party political system is not the right structure for the people of Israel. We have always had multiple opinions in the nation; it is in our nature to disagree, and we laugh at ourselves that between every two Jews you will find three opinions. However, the DNA of our people is to unite above these divisions and use the tensions they create to form a bond that is stronger than any bond can form.
This mode of work is the reason behind King Solomon’s verse (Prov. 10:12), “Hate stirs up strife, and love will cover all crimes.” This approach is also behind many other texts that our sages and thinkers have written throughout history.
In Education and World, Martin Buber wrote, “We are demanded not to blur the boundaries between the fellowships, but rather recognize the common reality and sharing of the test of mutual responsibility. The separation of the hearts is an illness that afflicts the nations of our time … there is no cure for this except for people from different circles of views who need each other with a pure heart to exert together to reveal the common basis.”
In a similar spirit, the book Likutey Halachot states, “The vitality and sustenance and correction of the whole of creation is by people of differing views becoming included together in love, unity, and peace.” The book Assorted Counsels elaborates even more: “The essence of peace is to connect two opposites. Hence, do not be alarmed if you see a person whose opinion is completely opposite from yours and you think that you will never be able to make peace with him. Or, when you see two people who are completely opposite to each other, do not say it is impossible to make peace between them. On the contrary, the essence of peace is to try to make peace between two opposites.”
In other words, the correct way for our people to work is to have multiple opinions within the same party, the same governing body, but at the same time understand that no single view is right, and only a decision reached when people unite after their differences have been revealed is correct because it has emerged from the point of unity that is above any personal opinion.
Only if Israel works in this way will it have a solid government and a nation that stands behind it. Moreover, when Israel governs itself in this way, it will have the world’s support, contrary to the current situation where the world can barely keep from telling us outright to get out of the land it granted us on November 29, 1947.
While it may seem impossible to find unity above our differences, we must remember that we are not doing this for ourselves, but for the world. This will be the fuel that can give us the sufficient impetus to carry out this seemingly impossible task.
Our sages have taught us that if we unite among ourselves, we unite the world. Accordingly, The Book of Zohar writes (Aharei Mot), “‘How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also dwell together.’ These are the friends, as they sit together inseparably. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another. Then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, you will not part henceforth … and by your merit there will be peace in the world.”
Echoing it, Raaiah Kook wrote, “If we were ruined and the world was ruined with us through unfounded hatred, we will be rebuilt and the world will be rebuilt with us through unfounded love.”
Therefore, in times of great division and dislike, it is our duty more than ever to unite above our differences and set an example of unity. This is the only remedy to our inability to establish a solid government, a solid society, and a peaceful life.