Digging Under Our Own Feet
Regrettably, I don’t think that the series of debacles that enabled the escape of six terrorists with blood on their hands from imprisonment will teach us any significant lessons. For years, the Israeli society has been on a decline. For years, we have been growing alienated from each other and indifferent to the country that was established for a very meaningful purpose. The Arabs already know they don’t have to fight us; they can wait and let us disintegrate from within until there is nothing left.
The corrosion does not begin with the Israel Prison Service, and it certainly does not end there. Therefore, I am not at all impressed by the celebrations of the media at the capture of four of the six terrorists. They need to fuss over something; it is how they make their money, but in the end, it is meaningless.
The crux of the problem lies in our unwillingness to be what we are supposed to be. Instead of assuming our responsibility for ourselves and for the world, and unapologetically asserting our position, we cater to the interests of enemies who want our destruction, who bribe us with phony smiles of affection. But they feel no affection for us, only contempt.
Indeed, how can anyone respect a nation that does not respect itself? When Jewish Israelis pride themselves in being activists against the existence of the Jewish state, and believe that they are morally superior because of it, can we blame anyone for holding similar views? We are digging under our own feet, and then we are alarmed by our falling.
The Jewish nation has a unique legacy, unique values, and a unique way of life. If we follow them, just as every nation follows its own values, we will be what we are meant to be—a nation whose members love each other as themselves, and set an example of unity in a world torn by division and hatred. This is what we are supposed to do in the Jewish state, the State of Israel, and setting this example is the meaning of being “a light unto nations.”
When Israelis declare that the brutal terrorists who escaped are their “men of the year,” it does not testify to their moral superiority; it testifies to the depth of their hatred for their own people. If anyone can glorify a murderer of women and children for the sole reason that those women and children were members of his own nation, it testifies to that person’s hatred for his people. When the world sees that the Jewish nation has such people within it, can it view Jews in any positive light? Can anyone appreciate a nation that hates itself that much?
In his paper, The Nation, the great 20th century kabbalist and thinker Baal HaSulam explained what it means to be an equitable nation: “The only hope is to thoroughly establish for ourselves a new national education, to reveal and ignite once more the natural national love that has been dimmed within us … for two millennia... Then we will know that we have a natural, reliable foundation to be rebuilt and to continue our existence as a nation, qualified to carry itself as all the nations of the world. … [However] Here I must stress concerning the above-mentioned national education: Although I aim to plant great love among the individuals in the nation in particular and for the entire nation in general, in the fullest possible measure [due to our vow to set an example of unity], this is not at all similar to … fascism. I loathe it, and my conscience is completely clear of it. …To easily perceive the difference [between national love and fascism] … we should compare it to the attributes of egoism and altruism in a person. … Clearly, the measure of egoism … is a necessary condition in the actual existence of the creature. Without it, it would not be a separate and distinct being in itself. Yet, this should not at all deny the measure of altruism in a person. The only thing required is to set distinct boundaries between them: The law of egoism must be kept in all its might, to the extent that it concerns the minimum existence. And with any surplus of that measure, permission is granted to waive it for the well-being of one’s fellow person.”
Regrettably, we are not doing the minimum to establish national love in order to secure our existence. In order to do that, we must know how we were created, what for, and how we can achieve our goal. If we realize our legacy, that people will appreciate us only when we set an example of solidarity and cohesion, and that under any other circumstances they will hate us, perhaps we will be more attentive to our duty. If we do this, it will make us Israel. Even more importantly, it will make us an example, the only example that the world needs in order to overcome its countless, deepening rifts, which are the only reason for humanity’s afflictions.