A week before the general election that was held this Tuesday, the newspapers Israel Hayom and Haaretz published two separate surveys, both concluding that contrary to the common perception of Israelis as preoccupied with problems of defense and terror, they are actually troubled by the cost of living. Of course, governability (huge parts of the country being terrorized by Bedouin and Arab mobs), Iran’s nuclear program, and social fragmentation are also major concerns, but people are deeply troubled by the fact that some basic products at the supermarket have simply become unaffordable.
I must admit; these are not my concerns. I have one, and only one concern. It is not that I do not feel the pain of rising costs or do not worry about terror. However, I feel that we will not solve any of our problems before we solve a far more fundamental problem: We are not a nation. We call ourselves the Israeli nation and say that Israel is our country, our homeland, but we are not a nation, nor do we feel like one.
To be a nation, we must have a minimal level of national solidarity, a sense that we share a common fate and certain common values or beliefs. Currently, there is nothing that holds the factions of the nation together.
There is only one solution to our problem: To drop all discourse on any matter, as urgent as it may seem, and focus on one and only topic: Fostering national unity. This is not true for all the nations, but for the Israeli nation, it is critical for our survival.
Because our nation was originally founded by people who came from different countries, nations, and cultures, there was nothing to hold us together but the conviction that unity is a value in and of itself, and in fact a value that is more noble than any other value. Moreover, our ancestors joined the Israeli nation in the first place because it placed unity above all other values, and our ancestors sympathized with the idea.
Because our ancestors came from all the nations of the world and forged a new nation based on unity, they became a model for world unity, an example that everyone could sympathize with and follow, since their own representatives were among the members of this novel nation. This is why we were given the mission of bringing about Tikkun Olam (world correction) by setting an example of unity and solidarity above differences.
But we abandoned our unity, and in so doing, abandoned the one thing that had made us a nation. Since we began to hate each other for no cause, we ceased to be a nation. This division was, is, and always will be our first and foremost problem. In fact, it is our only problem.
I hope that the new government will have a solid enough basis, and the required courage to forge an initiative to unite the Israeli nation above all its factions and fractions. If we succeed, we will not be troubled by high cost of living, by enemies who want to destroy us, or by any of the problems that have haunted us since we succumbed to hatred two millennia ago.