I keep hearing people enthuse over the fact that the nation of Israel and Jews around the world have been brought together as a result of the horrors of the three teenage boys being kidnapped around nine days ago.
But I’m not so enamored by this unity. The kids being kidnapped touches on really obvious core values, that the large majority of us share. Namely, you don’t directly attack innocent minors. The fact almost everyone agrees and unites on that, supporting the families of the three boys and the soldiers searching for them, doesn’t really point to any larger-scale or long-term unity when it comes to any of the other dozens of serious issues we strongly disagree on during regular times.
People naturally unite against an adversary. I see it all the time, not only in regards to the Israeli population who unite during times of war, but also within inter-personal relationships. Take two people who are fickle about each other and add a third who hurts the first two, and often find those two becoming good friends as a result.
Of course it’s good that there is a feeling of unity during this difficult time. The outpouring of chesed and prayers from Jews around the world, and the tireless work of the soldiers as they search for their “brothers” is deeply touching. But long-term changes will only happen if a new-found respect is built amongst all the different factions of our people while not ignoring the things that threaten to break us apart.
The first, most important challenge right now is to bring back our dear boys as soon as possible. The next is to decide to unite with our eyes wide open.
We, the Jewish people, seem quite desperate for unity – which is a good thing – and our unity at this time is a blessed hint of what could be. Now to make it be.