Jews always argue. In our history, these arguments have sometimes led to violence, and even flared such hatred that they inflicted ruin on our nation. Yet arguments, or as we prefer to call them, “debates,” have been a core value in our tribe. They have endowed us with wisdom and understanding, the ability to perceive multiple perspectives, and a basis to build love of others that is far stronger than natural love precisely because it has survived trials and tribulations. How then do we fight right? How do we not let it ruin us, but use it to consolidate us?
These are pertinent questions since in less than two weeks, Israelis will go to the poles again. It has become a habit; it is the fifth general election in less than four years. So far, political division has brought no benefit in terms of consolidating our society or strengthening our unity; it has only deepened our division and emboldened those who wish to destroy us.
In order to avoid a breakdown of Israeli society, we should return to our roots: We argue only when it serves the purpose of solidifying our unity. Otherwise, we simply avoid it. If we approach our disagreements in this way, then however deep and fateful our disputes might seem, they will lead to greater unity and successful solutions.
Disagreements build us. They enrich us, make our minds keener and our hearts more sincere. They force us to reflect on our values and question entrenched convictions. Conflicts make us respect our adversaries and appreciate what we gain through our disputes with them. Were it not for discords and people who challenge us, we would remain dull, dumb, and undeveloped. But worst of all, we would never learn what it means to love our neighbor—a complete stranger whom we have come to love through common efforts.
Our current struggles revolve around two things that are actually one: money and respect, which translate into struggles for power. Views on Israel’s defense, social justice, the economy, the justice system, education, everything is up for sale for the right price. If you give me the power I want, I will give you anything you ask. This is not unity and it is not agreement; it is opportunism. It will not stop the fights, and will destroy our society and country.
If we want the State of Israel to flourish, we must return to our authentic values. We must shed the masks and the fake smiles, acknowledge our hatred, and remember why we feel it: to strengthen our unity.
We will never agree with one another, nor should we. People who agree do not argue, and therefore have no reason to build a strong and solid unity. Since we do argue, we have no choice but to build a union that is stronger than our division.
Fighting right means fighting for unity without denying or suppressing our division. Fighting right means understanding that our enemy is not our opponent but our ego, and the disagreements between us are our way to prevail over our ego.
If we all renounce our ego and place a higher value on unity than on opinion, we will find that our opinions have become steps, and our union has become a force that lifts us up the mountain. When we reach the top, we will find each other.