Entries in the 'Israel Today' Category

“Coexistence With Arabs? We Can’t Even Exist With One Another!” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Coexistence with Arabs? We Can’t Even Exist with One Another!

The current wave of violence has exposed the fact that the coexistence between Arabs and Israelis within Israel was an illusion. There were economic benefits that both sides enjoyed, but the hatred has festered all those years until a trigger set it off. The painful truth that the riots of Arabs in Israel exposed is that they hate us no less than the Palestinians in the West Bank or in Gaza. The numerous lynching attempts, that miraculously have not taken someone’s life, yet, the burning of Jewish homes, synagogues, businesses, cars, the shots fired into people’s homes, and the stoning of cars on highways leave no room for doubt: The days of tolerance are over.

If we want to stop the violence against us, we must rise above our mutual hatred. Our military edge can buy us time, but if we don’t use the time we are given to build brotherly love above all our differences, the time will run out and we will suffer calamity after calamity until we learn that there will be no peace with our enemies until we make peace with one another. But when we achieve this, we will have no enemies.

Yet, anyone who knows the message of our sages, knows that they do not attribute our woes to our oppressors. Our sages do not attribute the ruin of the First Temple to Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon, although he was the one who destroyed it. Instead, they attribute it to us, to how we treated one another. They explain that the bloodshed and slander among us brought upon us the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar.

Similarly, our sages do not blame the Seleucid Empire for the war against the Maccabees. They blame the Hellenists, the Jews who insisted on installing the Greek culture and belief system in Judea.

And most notably, our sages don’t blame the ruin of the Second Temple and the two millennia long exile on the Romans, who did the physical conquering of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple. Rather, they blame it on a single culprit: baseless, unfounded hatred among us, Jews.

This truth has not changed since. We bring our woes upon ourselves. When we hate each other, the nations hate us. When the Talmud, for example, explains the reasons for the ruin of the First Temple, it writes that people would “eat and drink with one another,” yet “stab each other with the swords in their tongues” (Yoma 9b). Moreover, the Talmud further states that “Even though they were close to one another, they were filled with hatred for each other.”

Why do we expect things to be different now? Why do we think that the verbal swords we use against each other today won’t translate into physical knives and guns now? The fact is that this is what is happening. As then, so now.

Therefore, if we want to stop the violence against us, we must rise above our mutual hatred. Our military edge can buy us time, but if we don’t use the time we are given to build brotherly love above all our differences, the time will run out and we will suffer calamity after calamity until we learn that there will be no peace with our enemies until we make peace with one another. But when we achieve this, we will have no enemies.

“Where Do We Go From Here?” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Where Do We Go From Here?

We haven’t even recovered from Covid-19, and already, we are at war with our neighbors. And this time, it is not only with our neighbors across the Gazan border, but literally with our next door neighbors: Israeli Arabs who have been living peacefully with Israelis for more than five decades. In fact, most of the youngsters rioting now have never known anything but peaceful living alongside Israelis. They work in Israel, with Israeli Jews, went to Israeli universities with Israeli Jews, and send their representatives to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. Yet, now they are rioting against Jews, raising flags of Palestine, where they do not want to live, and burning the Israeli flag, where they do want to live. They are lynching, shooting, and stoning Jews, burning Jewish owned shops, synagogues, and cars, and they are chanting “Death to the Jews.”

From day to day, our hatred for each other is growing more intense and venomous. Accordingly, the passion of our neighbors to throw us out of here is proportionally intensifying. The equation is clear and simple; we just have to be honest enough to see it: When we hate each other, they hate us; when we want to destroy each other (as we did in the Second Temple), they want to destroy us.

To us, Jews, this is a major shock. Most Israelis did not imagine that this was how their Arab neighbors felt about them. The situation calls for some serious reckoning. We need to contemplate where to go from here, and why we are here in the first place. No other nation needs to ask these questions, but we, Jews, must. Because if we cannot explain to ourselves, and even more important, to the world(!), why we exist, and why specifically here in Israel, then we will have no moral right to be here, or to be at all.

Telling ourselves that we are here because we needed to save ourselves from antisemitism in the wake of the Holocaust is not the answer. Already, the nations regret voting in favor of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine in November 1947. They haven’t decided to reverse that decision, yet, but if they had to vote on it again, they would vote overwhelmingly against the whole idea.

So, what should we do? We must remind ourselves that we are here not to build a shelter from antisemitism, but to reestablish our peoplehood. We became a nation at the foot of Mt. Sinai, when we pledged to unite “as one man with one heart,” and we were immediately tasked with passing on that unity to the rest of the world, or as the Torah phrases it, with being “a light unto nations.” This is why Old Hillel told the man who asked him what it meant to be a Jew, “That which you hate, do not do unto your neighbor; this is the whole of the Torah, and the rest is commentary” (Shabbat, 31a). This is also why Rabbi Akiva, whose disciples wrote both the Mishnah and The Book of Zohar, said that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the principal law of the Torah (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim, 30b). We should ask ourselves if we are keeping this law, because if we aren’t, then we don’t deserve to be here.

I think the truth is evident. From day to day, our hatred for each other is growing more intense and venomous. Accordingly, the passion of our neighbors to throw us out of here is proportionally intensifying. The equation is clear and simple; we just have to be honest enough to see it: When we hate each other, they hate us; when we want to destroy each other (as we did in the Second Temple), they want to destroy us.

But the opposite is just as true: When we love each other, they love us. We determine our fate by determining how we relate to one another. I don’t know where we will go from here, but I do know what we need to do if we want to go anywhere good: We need to start developing love for one another. The harder we work on this, the faster our situation will improve.

[Image: People walk next to burnt vehicles as they enter a building after violent confrontations in the city of Lod, Israel between Israeli Arab demonstrators and police, amid high tensions over hostilities between Israel and Gaza militants and tensions in Jerusalem May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun]

“Where Israel’s Real Might Lies” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Where Israel’s Real Might Lies

The rockets from Gaza are frightening, and they are certainly disrupting our lives. However, the real monster that’s emerged in this round of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the violence of Arabs who are Israeli citizens against Jews. Last night, rioters went through all the Jewish businesses in Old Acre, in Northern Israel, and torched every one of them. Attempted lynches were carried out in Lod, Tamra, and Acre. Jews were also injured from gunshots fired into homes in Lod, as well as from rocks and stones, and Molotov cocktail bottles. In Haifa, 60 Jews were hurt by smoke inhalation after Arabs torched cars owned by Jews, and the list goes on and on. All this comes on top of the hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, killing several people, wounding many more, and destroying homes and property.

Let me be clear, we must have military power. We must protect ourselves to the best of our ability, and attack those who attack us. However, if we base our confidence on military edge, it will fall apart, as we are seeing now. Israel’s only might always was, is, and will forever be the unity of its people, and nothing else.

Such mayhem is enough to shake up the confidence of anyone, and indeed it has. The Israelis are losing their confidence, but I believe it’s for the best, since now we can begin to base it on a solid foundation.

Let me be clear, we must have military power. We must protect ourselves to the best of our ability, and attack those who attack us. However, if we base our confidence on military edge, it will fall apart, as we are seeing now. Israel’s only might always was, is, and will forever be the unity of its people, and nothing else.

It doesn’t matter how divided we are; it doesn’t matter how deeply we hate each other for our different views or cultures. If we spread a canopy of solidarity over all our differences because of the simple fact that we are Jews and the essence of our peoplehood is unity above division, then no harm will come to us. On the contrary, by doing so, we will win the world’s respect and favor. Below is a piece of Jewish history that tells the tale of unity, division, and ultimate unity, and how it impacts other nations.

During the reign of Antiochus III the Great (222 to 187 BCE), Judea was ruled by the Seleucid Empire but enjoyed almost complete autonomy, as long as they paid their (reasonable) taxes to the king. In fact, in Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus writes that Antiochus the Great considered it his duty to guard the autonomy of the Jews. To show his appreciation for their assistance and his reverence for their way of life, he wrote a formal letter permitting the Jews to live according to their way: “On account of their piety toward God, [Antiochus decided to] bestow on them, as a pension for their [Temple work] … twenty thousand pieces of silver, in addition to abundance of fine flour, wheat, and salt.” His successor, Seleucus IV Philopator, kept the status quo with the Jews, who continued to live untroubled in Judea.

Even Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded Seleucus IV, initially had no intention to change the status quo in Judea, were it not for certain Jews who had decided to incite him against their brethren. Those Jews wanted to force the Hellenistic culture on Judea and take control of the country. To achieve this, their leader, Yason [Jason], paid Epiphanes a hefty sum of money, who, in return, ousted the incumbent High Priest in Jerusalem and handed the position over to Jason.

Jason quickly turned Jerusalem into a polis, renamed it Antiochia, and constructed a gymnasium at the foot of Temple Mount. In addition, the Hellenistic Jews abandoned ancient customs that related to the Temple and began to sow division in the country. In fact, the Hellenists sowed so much division that they even fought among themselves, between supporters of Jason and supporters of Menelaus (who in 170 BCE paid off Antiochus to oust Jason and make him the High Priest). By the time Antiochus Epiphanes wrote his infamous decree that demanded all Jews to become Hellenists, many of the Jews were already in agreement with his demands. In fact, according to The Book of the Maccabees (Vol. 1), “many of the Israelites consented to his religion and sacrificed unto idols.”

But we know the end of the story: The Hasmonean family in Modiin revolted against the decree, and under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, the Jews united and ousted the Hellenists. Moreover, Antiochus V Eupator, who succeeded Antiochus Epiphanes, restored the agreement of freedom to the Jews that his great grandfather, Antiochus III, had signed, and put the final seal on the Hasmonean Revolt when he executed Menelaus as a punishment for luring him into a war he did not want to fight.

Today, twenty-three centuries after the saga, it seems as though we haven’t learned much. As then, so now, we have to fight for our freedom because we didn’t fight for our unity before. Had this been our one and only focus, we wouldn’t have had to worry about anything else, just as the Jews in Judea enjoyed their freedom as long as they had kept their unity.

As long as we still have a country, we must shift our attention to our solidarity, to our unity, as this is our real weapon. While fighting against our enemies, we must fight the separation among us even more, since this, in the end, will determine the outcome of the war against the Arabs.

“Is Israel Technically Becoming An Apartheid State?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is Israel technically becoming an apartheid state?

I’m not interested in all these labels people apply to Israel. My view of Israel is guided solely by authentic Kabbalistic sources that I have been studying for over forty years now.

Nonetheless, taking into account the vast amount of Arabs in Israeli society who share equal rights as Israeli citizens, whom you will find studying at universities and in a whole range of respected professions, such as lawyers and doctors, I would not consider Israel an apartheid state. Apartheid is something completely different.

Yet the various categories that people place Israel into do not matter to me. What does matter is the growing need for the people of Israel to realize their role in the world: to unite (“love your neighbor as yourself”) and be a conduit for unity to spread worldwide (“a light unto nations”).

If the people of Israel would observe this condition, then both the people of Israel and the world would experience a whole new kind of harmony, peace and happiness enter into their lives. If the people of Israel fail to make any motion toward more unification among themselves, then the attitude toward Israel will continue worsening.

Whether you define Israel as an “apartheid” or a “terrorist” state makes no difference because it will not change reality. What matters is our attitude to the law of nature that determines everything: to learn how it determines everything and how we are in relation to it.

I need to realize that as a Jew, I ignite the hatred that others have toward me. In other words, if I fail to work on connecting positively to others, starting from a positive connection to the people of Israel, then I stimulate the massive human ego—the desire to enjoy at the expense of others—which brings division and hatred to humanity. Accordingly, negative sentiment toward Israel and the Jewish people grows from one day to the next, leading to decisions that are based on this growing hatred. Therefore, what do I have to fight if I myself give rise to that hatred against me?

All I see in such negative stereotyping of Israel is that we fail to act as we need to. I attribute nothing to Israel’s critics and haters. If the people of Israel would operate according to what made them the people of Israel to begin with—a group that aims at its increasing unity according to “love your neighbor as yourself” in order to spread unity and love to the world—then the world would respond positively to Israel. By uniting and generating a positive force among themselves, people worldwide would feel a much more harmonious, balanced, happy and confident sensation surface within them, myriad problems and crises would thus subside, and the attitude toward Israel would also invert from an increasingly negative one—as it currently is—to one that respects and loves the people who bring unification and goodness to the world. The nations of the world are like a shadow of the actions of the people of Israel.

“The Israeli nation was to be a ‘transition.’ This means that to the extent that Israel cleanse themselves … so they pass their power on to the rest of the nations.” – Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Love of the Creator and the Love of the Created Beings.”

Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“The Illusion Of Coexistence” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Illusion of Coexistence

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.

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.

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.

“No Victory Without Conviction, And No Conviction Without Unity” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “No Victory without Conviction, and No Conviction without Unity

The State of Israel is unique on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. But perhaps we should talk about how Israel began, because if we know how it began, perhaps we’ll be able to understand the present complicated situation a little better. The idea of a contemporary Jewish state began in the late 19th century after pogroms against Jews in Russia, combined with socialist ideals that many secularized Jews embraced, led to the creation of Hovevey Zion [Lovers of Zion], the first Zionist movement. At the same time in France, the Dreyfus affair, when a Jewish French army officer was falsely accused of espionage for Germany, shook up a Jewish Viennese journalist named Theodor Herzl and drove him to realize that only a Jewish sovereign entity would save them from antisemitism.

We, Jews, are living in the State of Israel not for our own sake. It may appear as if we are, but it is only an illusion. We are here for the rest of the world, and unless we understand this and convince the world that this is so, we will not have the world’s support or the conviction in our being here.

As a result, at around the same time, Jews began to build and settle in Palestine, then an Ottoman province, as well as build political institutions for a future state. The Russians, who were virulently antisemitic, did not oppose the departure of the Jews from their midst, and the Ottomans had no interest in the forgotten province that was mostly marshland infested with mosquitoes and malaria.

During World War I, the British Empire conquered much of the Middle East, including all of Palestine. The British, influenced by Christian values, believed in the Biblical promise to the Jewish people. Encouraged by Jewish Cabinet members, the British government declared in 1917 that it “view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish psshheople” and to “use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

Despite ups and downs in the relationships between the Jewish settlement in Palestine and the British authorities, the national home gradually took shape. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they aggressively urged Jews to leave Germany and go to Palestine. They even allowed German Jews to take most of their wealth with them to Palestine, which was exceptional since Germany had strict currency rules forbidding export of German Marks so as not to devalue their currency. Indeed, much of the industry required for the establishment of an independent country, such as weapons, food producing factories, roadworks, and steel industry, was established thanks to Jewish money that poured out of Nazi Germany with Germany’s and Britain’s support.

Finally, in 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, the League of Nations voted in favor of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, and the State of Israel was founded.

We therefore see that in the making of the Jewish state, other nations, and eventually the majority of the world, supported the establishment of the State of Israel. No other country has had such support; no other country was confirmed and recognized by the world’s key establishment even before it was established. In fact, even the victory of the Jews in the War of Independence that followed the League of Nations’ declaration was achieved with the active support of foreign countries who sold weapons and ammunition to the fledgling country, with a few even joining the armed forces.

However, for all the support that the Jewish state received in its infancy, it would not have won the war against the armies of six Arab countries—which were far better equipped and outnumbered the Jews by dozens of times—were its people not convinced that their cause was just and necessary.

Today, the situation is to the contrary. We have lost the support of the world, and, even worse, we have lost the conviction in our being here. In order to renew it, we must understand why we are really here.

We, Jews, are living in the State of Israel not for our own sake. It may appear as if we are, but it is only an illusion. We are here for the rest of the world, and unless we understand this and convince the world that this is so, we will not have the world’s support or the conviction in our being here.

Our only justification for being in the land of Israel is in being the people of Israel. In other words, in the deeper, spiritual sense of the word, the people of Israel are not those who call themselves Jews, but those who agree to unite “as one man with one heart,” just as our ancestors did after they came out of Egypt. They established the people of Israel, settled in the Land of Israel, and were expelled from it when they abandoned their unity and stopped being a spiritual people of Israel.

Therefore, our conviction depends on our union “as one man with one heart,” or at least on striving to reinstate this bonding. If we do this, we will become what we were tasked with being—“a light unto nations.” Our unity will set an example of rising above enmity and will “convince” the world that we “deserve” to be here. We do not need to prove anything or convince anyone. All we need to do is unite among ourselves.

I know that achieving unity among Jews is harder than any task, and that every Jew would prefer to unite with anyone but fellow Jews. No hatred is as deep as the hatred of the Jews for one another. This is precisely why when this hatred is resolved, all hatreds will be resolved.

It therefore turns out that unity is the basis of our success, a precondition for our conviction in being here, which in itself is a precondition for our victory. If we want peace, we must begin with peace with one another.

For more on this topic, refer to the books The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, and Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour.

“What Can Be The Solution/s To The Israel-Palestine Conflict?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What can be the solution/s to the Israel-Palestine conflict?

The current Israel-Palestine crisis is another chapter in an age-old conflict dating back to our early efforts to reestablish a Jewish State.

In short, we hold the key to put an end to this crisis. Our unity or division makes the difference between our enemies subsiding or rising up against us. Also, the extent to which we are united or divided mirrors the extent to which our enemies calm down or flare up.*

Why is our unity the definitive factor in this conflict?

It is because unity, and specifically unity above division, marks our uniqueness and what made us a Jewish people to begin with some 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. When Babylon experienced a crisis of social division, with conflicts and hatred tearing apart the ancient Babylonian society, Abraham—a Babylonian priest who discovered the path to unite above the growing divisions, i.e., reaching the revelation of the single force of love and bestowal that exists in reality above the growing ego—began openly teaching this path he discovered to anyone wanting to learn.

Since division throughout society was felt as a major problem, several people gathered around Abraham and implemented the method he taught. They went on to discover the unique unifying force of love above their divisive drives, and by doing so, became known as “the people of Israel.” The word “Israel” comes from “Yashar Kel,” which means “straight to God,” i.e., straight to the single force of love that fills reality. Later, this group became known as “the Jews” (the Hebrew word for “Jew” [Yehudi] comes from the word for “united” [yihudi] [Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2]).

Therefore, the Jewish nation was founded on this ideological basis. People living in ancient Babylon, who felt the pressure of the divisiveness and hatred of the time, gathered under Abraham’s guidance, and they eventually united above their divisive drives. By doing so, they became known as “a light unto the nations.” That is, their attainment of nature’s unifying force above the human ego, which causes all the divisiveness and problems in society, positively affects all of “the nations,” i.e., all people in the world. A critical mass of people uniting in love above their differences and divisions spreads love, unity, mutual care, support and encouragement throughout humanity at large. And when people feel this force of unity connecting them, they feel happier, full of confidence, strength and warmth, and then they revere the source that brings them such sensations.

As it was then, so it is today, but on a much greater global scale.

The human ego, divisiveness, conflicts and hatred are all on the rise, and they lead to crises across the board. For instance, the escalation in Israel and Palestine comes during a period of mass shootings in the United States becoming almost as commonplace as eating breakfast, and more generally, despite our increasing technological and economic connections worldwide, we feel more isolated, stressed, depressed, empty and anxious than ever before. The more people feel all kinds of negative feelings and phenomena in their lives, the more feelings of discontent toward the people of Israel surface.

If we Jews function according to the original unifying inclination that brought us together, we will then spread a positive unifying force to the world, and thus experience a positive reaction from the world. If, however, as is currently the case, we fail to make moves toward our unity, then we obstruct the positive unifying force from reaching humanity, and hatred naturally stirs up against us in order to prod us to unite. It is thus my hope that we will wake up to our fateful need to unite sooner rather than later, as doing so would spare ourselves and humanity much pain and sorrow.

We simply have no clue as to what a unifying calibration of our attitudes to each other would result in. The current Israel-Palestine crisis will calm down, and moreover, crises spanning personal, social, economic and ecological levels all throughout humanity would also subside. The rampant exploitation, manipulation, hatred and abuse in humanity would invert into its positive forms of mutual support, consideration, encouragement, love and care.

That is why I put in so many efforts to spread the message about the need for Jewish unity, because its implementation or neglect will determine whether humanity shifts to a harmonious and unifying course of development, or whether we will continue declining down the current divisive path.

* See my book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism: Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, for more details on this topic.

Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“Our Own Worst Enemies” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Our Own Worst Enemies

About a week ago, Amit Segal, a political commentator for Israel’s Channel 12 News, interviewed former Israeli ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer, who served from 2013 to 2021. To me, the most significant point that Dermer put across was that the support for the State of Israel among American Jews is dropping. Moreover, Dermer stressed that some of Israel’s most vociferous and venomous critics are Jews. When I look at those critics, it seems to me that they are not only hateful toward Israel, but that they take pride in their hatred.

Until we, Jews, overcome the hatred we feel for one another, there will be no healing for the hatred toward us. Throughout the centuries, we have been hated for every conceivable reason, as well as for some inconceivable ones. Hatred needs no reason or reasoning. The hatred for the State of Israel is only the latest in the series, but it is the same Jew-hatred that has tormented our people for centuries.

Indeed, the greatest antisemites are the Jews themselves. In antiquity, it was the Jew-turned-genocidal-anti-Semite Tiberius Julius Alexander who slaughtered 50,000 Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, and led the Roman army into the Temple through the Golden doors his own father had built. In the Middle-Ages, it was Cardinal Juan de Torquemada, a descendant of Jews, who initiated and oversaw the Spanish Inquisition that led to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. In modern times, Jews have been acting against Jews on countless occasions, but perhaps one of the most notorious among them was Rabbi Stephen Wise, the leader of American Jewry during World War II, who helped President Roosevelt hamper the immigration of the Jews from Germany and Austria to the US while they could still save themselves from the persecution of the Nazi regime.

In order to understand how it is possible that Jews would hate Jews so vehemently, we need to understand that the root of the Jewish people is connection. We became a nation at the foot of Mt. Sinai when we agreed to unite “as one man with one heart,” and we lost our nationhood, along with our land, when we succumbed to unfounded hatred. Since then, and for the past two millennia, we have been in exile from each other, from our most basic tenet, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The State of Israel represents a chance we have been given to restore our nationhood, namely our unity. Jews who oppose the State of Israel are actually opposing unity. Perhaps subconsciously, they do not want to unite “as one man with one heart,” and certainly not to love their neighbors as themselves. They preach justice for others, but they exude hate for their own. In the name of equity to all, they promote prejudice and discrimination against their folk.

It will not help. Until we, Jews, overcome the hatred we feel for one another, there will be no healing for the hatred toward us. Throughout the centuries, we have been hated for every conceivable reason, as well as for some inconceivable ones. Hatred needs no reason or reasoning. The hatred for the State of Israel is only the latest in the series, but it is the same Jew-hatred that has tormented our people for centuries.

However, here, in sovereign Israel, we finally have a chance to reinstate our unity, and regain our nationhood. This is our duty to ourselves, and our onus toward the nations. Unity is the only way we can become “a light unto nations.” If we want to win the world’s favor, we must focus on internal unity. When we display hatred toward each other and sympathy for others, they see it as sycophancy, and no one likes a sycophant. I think it is time we started looking more at each other and built some inner strength, and less at others and what they might think. They will think about us what we will think about each other.

“The Rockets Expose The Myth Of Coexistence” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Rockets Expose the Myth of Coexistence

The good thing about crises is that they expose the truth. After the Israeli War of Independence, Arabs remained in many places in Israel and became Israeli citizens. Over the years, it seemed as though we’ve learned to live together in peaceful coexistence. It was clear that there is no love between the two populations, and that the Israeli Arabs sympathized with the Palestinians in the West Bank, but they still chose to remain in Israel and lead a full civic life here, work alongside Israelis, trade with Israelis, and benefit from the amenities of a prosperous economy. For many years, it seemed as though the hatred that flared during the War of Independence had subsided thanks to the frequent contact with Israeli Jews. It was a myth. The rockets from Gaza and the riots in Jerusalem exposed the truth: Israeli Arabs identify themselves as Palestinians, and they only waited for a time when the Jewish society in Israel was divided and weak enough for them to expose that they, too, want the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea. For some reason, we enjoy lying to ourselves. We cannot afford this luxury; we should tell ourselves the truth: Nothing has changed since the establishment of the State of Israel. The Arabs, who supported the Nazis in World War II, are just as keen to destroy us now as they have always been.

“The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which sparks of purity would flow onto the entire human race throughout the world,” to use the words of kabbalist Baal HaSulam. This purity, this unity above the ego, is the meaning of being “a light unto nations.”

We have to understand what Israel stands for in the world. The nation of Israel was “officiated” when descendants of strangers who were often hateful toward each other chose to unite above their enmity. By doing so, under the leadership of Abraham and his lineage, and finally under Moses, they set a precedent showing how people can overcome their egos and unite. “The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which sparks of purity would flow onto the entire human race throughout the world,” to use the words of kabbalist Baal HaSulam. This purity, this unity above the ego, is the meaning of being “a light unto nations.”

But since human nature is selfish to the core, or as the Torah puts it, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21), Israel’s method of achieving peace among sworn enemies has put it on a collision course with the rest of humanity. In truth, no division is greater or deeper than the division between Israel and the rest of the world, and no hatred is more intense. The chasm between Israel and the nations is a projection of the chasm between the nature of giving and unity and the nature of receiving and selfishness. There is no compromise; in the end, only one will remain.

When Israel are united, they are powerful enough to deter any enemy. In fact, a united people of Israel has no enemies since the light of unity it emits attracts the nations toward it to learn how they, too, can unite. The book Sifrey Devarim (Item 354) writes that in antiquity, in times when Israel were united, people from the nations of the world would “go up to Jerusalem and see Israel … and say, ‘It is becoming to cling only to this nation.’”

Alas, today we are anything but united. And when we are disunited, we are powerless, and the world feels our weakness and wishes to seize the moment and destroy us. When we are disconnected from our unity, our anchor of strength, the ego takes over the world and wishes to destroy its only enemy: the people of Israel. “Israel will be a holy congregation and one association, as one man with one heart. Then, when unity restores Israel as before, Satan will have no place in which to place error and external forces,” writes the book Shem MiShmuel. “When they are as one man with one heart,” it continues, “they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.” However, “If there is division among them,” writes the book Masechet Derech Eretz Zutah, “it is said about them (Hosea 10:2), ‘Their heart is divided; now they will bear their guilt.’”

This is what is happening today. We are suffering the consequences of the baseless hatred among us, and the whip is our neighbors. Our own disunity is the instigator of their violence, and the only fire extinguisher we have is our solidarity, our care for one another. If we can rise above the chasms in the Israeli society, we will prosper more than any other nation. If we do not, we will bear our guilt.

“Peace Begins Within” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Peace Begins Within

Hundreds of rockets, fatalities, injuries, homes severely damaged, and entire cities shut down. Palestinians in the West Bank, and Israeli Arabs throughout the country, are beating and stoning Jewish civilians, attacking police officers, attempting to shoot and car-ram soldiers, and to lynch people in their cars. This is what Israel looks like today. We can complain about the biased and antisemitic reports that the press is showing, or that the Biden administration enables such things to happen and even tacitly supports them, but they aren’t the problem; they are the symptom. If at such a critical time, we allow ourselves to engage in infantile bickering and “I told you so” type arguments, then we are the ones encouraging the violence; we are the enablers.

How can we solve our security problems when we put sticks in each other’s wheels? Our own division is our haters’ fuel. If we want to be in a different place tomorrow, we have to start going there today. But when everyone points a blaming finger at others and says “Only I know the way,” then clearly no one knows the way and nothing will improve.

How can we solve our security problems when we put sticks in each other’s wheels? Our own division is our haters’ fuel. If we want to be in a different place tomorrow, we have to start going there today. But when everyone points a blaming finger at others and says “Only I know the way,” then clearly no one knows the way and nothing will improve.

The clash between Jews and Arabs is as old as our efforts to reestablish the Jewish State toward the end of the 19th century. But their level of activity against us depends on us, not on them. When we are united, they are quieter; when we are divided, they rise up with murderous intent.

If we want them to change, they need our positive influence. They need to feel that there is love within us, then they, and the whole world with them, will run to us. But when there is hatred among us, and hatred is what we project, then hatred is what we will get from them.

The book Kol Mevaser writes in this regard: “This is the mutual guarantee on which Moses worked so hard before his death: to unite the children of Israel. All of Israel are each other’s guarantors [responsible for one another], meaning that when all are together, they see only good.” Likewise, the book Binah LeItim asserts, “The foundation of the wickedness of evil Haman … is what he had begun to argue, ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed,’ etc. He cast his filth saying that that nation deserves to be destroyed since separation rules among them, they are all full of strife and quarrel, and their hearts are far from one another. However, He put the healing before the blow [took preventing measures] … by hastening Israel to unite and … be one, as one man, and this is what saved them, as in the verse, ‘Go, gather together all the Jews.’”

Accordingly, when we unite, we will see the world changing its attitude toward us for the better. Moreover, we will see that our hopes for peace and for a good future are in our hands, and all we need to do is learn how to activate our secret power: internal unity. Indeed, peace begins within.