Motti Eichler

Brothers not enemies: A change in attitudes can heal Israel’s divisions

Today’s Israel is seen by many as a deeply divided country. Differences between people is perhaps natural, yet these levels of disunity are frightening. We believe there is a way to repair this facture and the answer is simple. We must remember that we are brothers.

Business brings people together. As Steven Pinker and others have shown, the endeavor to invent products, create companies, generate profit, and build networks has always built bridges between nations and engendered unity, instead of war. Trade offers collaboration and peace. The same is true for Israel today.

To this end, together with my partner Marc Schimmel, we have been active in working to advance Haredi employment for close to 20 years both through the Bereshit Genesis activities and then by leading the training and supporting of Haredi entrepreneurs through Achim Global. We have witnessed first-hand the vital importance of economic collaboration, working together as brothers, overlooking our different beliefs, opinions or background. We can achieve success only by working as brothers and friends, united and together.

The Haredi community is making great strides in their contributions to Israel’s economy and society. Through our work in placing thousands of women and men in various sectors and industries throughout Israel and by supporting hundreds of Haredi entrepreneurs with starting their own businesses through our culturally inclusive work centers in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, we have shown that we are committed to contributing to the growth and prosperity of our society and to the Israeli economy as a whole.

When we meet at the workplace as colleagues, and as business partners, we refuse to see each other as enemies. We can only achieve economic success together. We have many partners in our work who may have different political views than us and yet we prosper as brothers. We recognize that we are all part of the same Jewish family, and that by working together, we can create a brighter future for all of us.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” to quote Thomas Paine, one 18th century American philosopher. Yet it is important to remember that even though we are living in trying times, we must not let these challenges divide us. We must come together and work towards common goals. Only by doing so can we create a society that is truly just and fair for all, one of prosperity and plenty.

Our strength lies in our unity.  We must remember that we are “achim,” brothers.

About the Author
Motti Eichler is co-founder of Achim Global, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating economic opportunities within ultra-Orthodox society in Israel.