It looked like a scene playing out in Gaza, but its location was the heart of Tel Aviv: Palestinian flags hoisted at Rabin Square protesting the recently passed Nation-State law. Israel’s democracy is being abused not used. When the intrinsic call is to wipe Israel off the map, there should be no room for freedom of expression. Otherwise, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
There is a systematic campaign from the Palestinians to undermine Israel’s right to exist. Incendiary kites sent from the Gaza Strip to Israeli farms have cost the country to date almost $2 million in damages. Within just the last few days, more than 200 rockets plummeted into densely populated cities in the south. Security and economic pressure, in addition to inflammatory political demonstrations within our cities, all serve the same purpose: to jeopardize Israel.
No country in the world would let its enemies spread their tentacles in such a way. There should be a limit to the fertile ground we provide our enemies to plant their seeds, taking advantage of our being a free and modern country. Our open-arm peace gestures have not been reciprocated to this very day. Consider the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip, the Oslo Accords, the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. Do we live any closer to peace with the Palestinians as a result of any of these? Do we wake up every day feeling safer?
The answer is evident. Why then should we let any faction aim at Israel’s destruction? Taking into consideration just the surface façade that only a small number are against the country while the majority of the Arab population aspires for peace, the alarming underlying truth is ignored: demonstrations like these motivate and ignite radical groups around the world to further incite at the grassroots level.
Anti-Israel agitators have admitted that this is only the beginning, a test to enlist support for a continuous public struggle to also take place at an international level. At the end of the day, it won’t be hard for the enemies of Israel to solicit support from the UN, UNESCO, the European Union and other world bodies to advance their interests. They have historically succeeded in obtaining sympathy from those organizations.
Eventually, even Jews in the Diaspora will join the world’s voices against the Jewish state. The success of these internal and external factions points to one factor as its root cause: our inner weakness. We have forgotten the spiritual foundation of our people, the cornerstone of what it means to be Israel. What is the purpose of the people of Israel? What special contribution does this group have to give to the world? By clarifying the answers to these questions we would no longer be blinded by incongruent external influences, leaving us with the necessary strength to defend our land and society from all threats.
The Jewish people is a collection of peoples from among the nations of the world, gathered in ancient Babylon 3,800 years ago with a single purpose: implementing the ideology of “love your friend as yourself,” and passing it to the rest of the world. The essence of the Jewish people is unity, and our role is to be the conduit of the message of connection and love to all the nations. We were founded and united as a people for the first time around this principle taught by Abraham.
The recently-approved Nation-State law does not resonate with this purpose. It lacks a basic spiritual statement: our unity is our main force. The fact that we have had a historical connection to the land of Israel for thousands of years is an insufficient reason to satisfy the world’s questions about our right of self-determination as a Jewish state. Therefore, we can continue tailoring beautifully written laws and organizing impressive protocolary ceremonies to promote them, but they will all reach a dead end.
As long as the nation fails to realize its identity and has no solid spiritual foundation, no new law can become an insurance policy for stability and progress. It is not surprising how similar the current environment of frictions and division in our days is to those that preceded the ruin of the Temple, when hatred outstripped brotherly love.
We must reverse the current state of affairs and adhere to our role of becoming “a light unto the nations” by providing an example of connection to the world, thus transforming an uncertain future into a bright path of unity.
It seems today that the Jewish people are well-established in their homeland, the land of Israel, but this cannot be taken for granted. “Zionism will be cancelled altogether,” as Baal HaSulam wrote in The Writings of The Last Generation, the great Kabbalist of the 20th century. He described a somber scenario if we do not fulfill our destiny and pass our power of connection to the world. “This country is very poor, 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.” So, there really will be nowhere to run.
Therefore, the first law that should be legislated now is a law of unity: a law that will rekindle the hidden spark in our hearts and restore the sense of unity that we lack. Also, it should not only be a well-drafted law, beautifully designed as a scroll, but one accompanied by an educational explanation of the entire process.
When the State of Israel would be founded on an authentic Israeli spirit of unity, all its laws would work to strengthen the bonds of love among the people living on its soil. Such a state would neither abolish nor erase political party, tribal, gender, age, or skin color differences, but would set the unity of everyone, without exception, into a single society ruled by the principles of solidarity and cooperation as its supreme goal. This is the true nation-state of the Jews, a state that takes care of unification, while preserving the uniqueness of every individual.
When all the sparks within Jewish hearts come together, no one can act against us. Our connection above differences is our destiny as a people, and all the nations of the world expect us to achieve this. This is the law that is the bedrock of our nation and our spiritual foundation, and it should be the basis for any demonstration that takes place.