If The Terrorists Only Knew

Long before the Arab-Israeli conflict was born, and long before the rise of radical Islam, there existed the idea in Jewish mysticism that there is a very special and important relationship between the Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel. That the unique spiritual reality of the Land of Israel is custom designed to help the Nation of Israel fulfill its role and mission in human history.

We saw this in the generation of Avraham when he was told by God to leave his homeland and journey to a new land, a land whose geographical position at the center of the ancient world would help him to introduce and spread the idea of monotheism to the world, an idea that would eventually revolutionize human thought and human culture.

We saw this again in the early years of Zionism when Jews in Europe were wakening up to the fact that Europe was done with them and that only in their ancient homeland could they take charge of their own safety and destiny, allowing them to focus more intently on their prophesied role as a light unto the nations. In fact, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, referred to the creation of the State of Israel as “a great historic privilege, which is also a duty…in helping to solve the central problems of humanity.”

We continue to see this strongly today as it is well known to all that the modern State of Israel has become a global leader in innovations that have changed the fields of medicine, agriculture, and environmental technologies in its quest to make the world a better place for all of humanity. It seems as if the Jewish people, the Land of Israel, and the Jewish value of tikkun olam (fixing the world) are triangularly interconnected and interdependent.

Going back to the above mystical teaching, it continues to teach that when the Jewish people are dwelling within the borders of their homeland, when Jewish nationhood and Jewish place merge, this triggers something in the heavenly realm which in turn brings spiritual blessing to the entire world.

To sum up: The Jewish people dwelling in the Land of Israel is good for everyone, for all of humanity.

If the terrorists who are obsessed with fighting the presence of Jews in the Land of Israel understood this, maybe, just maybe they would put down their weapons. Maybe they would take apart their rocket launchers and instead of fighting the State of Israel, they would celebrate it. Maybe they would create bridges between their people and the Jewish state instead of creating a reality that necessitates the building of barriers and checkpoints and separation.

Now, I’m not naïve. I do not expect this to happen today and not tomorrow. Maybe one day it will occur, who knows.

But even if it doesn’t, it’s enough that we, the Jewish people, understand and believe that our presence in our homeland is not a selfish endeavor (unless you define self-defense and the desire for self-preservation in a cruel world selfish). Our return to nationhood and our presence in Israel is essentially about helping us to fulfill our ancient purpose:

To bring about a world that is based on peace, kindness and justice for all of the nations.

If only the terrorists could understand that.

About the Author
Akiva Gersh moved to Israel from New York in 2004 and has been working in the field of Jewish and Israel Education for over 20 years. In 2020 he founded @Israel to share his love and passion for Israel with students, schools and communities around the world through his online classes, courses and virtual tours of Israel. Akiva is also the editor of the book "Becoming Israeli" (, a compilation of essays that gives an inside look at the unique experience of making aliyah and the journey of acclimating to life in Israel. He also created a social media platform called "Vegan Rabbi" through which he teaches about Jewish teachings related to health, animal welfare and environmental stewardship. Akiva lives in Pardes Hanna with his wife Tamar and their four kids.