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Chana Pinto
Am Yisrael Chai

Jewish unity for the New Year- is that possible?

photo taken by the writer
photo taken by the writer

With all the mud-slinging going on in Israeli politics, which has sadly trickled down to divide the country in ways we have never seen before, it is heartening to know that there are still good people in our society.  After one of the most recent terrorist attacks in Israel (I can’t believe how general that sentence sounds, that terrorism on our soil is sadly so commonplace that I can actually talk about “recent” attacks), in which Ukrainian-immigrant-turned-IDF-soldier Maksym Molchanov was murderously run down by Arab terrorists near Modiin, there was a call on social media and other internet outlets for the general public to attend his funeral. He was a lone soldier, with no family in Israel. Maksym had came to Israel on his own at age 14, attended the Naaleh high school program, made aliya and joined the army. He was a true Zionist, and wanted most to be living in Israel and serving his people. He was a selfless soul who donated bone marrow last year to save the life of a 12-year-old child.

And the Israeli public did show up to pay their respects. News outlets reported that more than 1000 people attended the funeral. Most had not known Maksym. But they came. Because that’s what Israelis do. That’s what Jews do.

In times of need, we are here for each other. Unfortunately, those times often involve horrific circumstances such as terrorist attacks, car accidents, and other tragic events. Even when disasters occur outside of the country, Israel doesn’t blink. We have sent delegations around the world to assist in search and rescue operations, including setting up first-rate field hospitals, in countries such as Turkey, Mexico, Haiti, and others. We helped fight the wildfires in Greece and Cyprus this summer, and as of this writing, there is a delegation waiting to dispatch to Morocco to assist in the rescue operations currently taking place in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake last night.

Do you see the dichotomy? On one hand we will do anything to help each other and the rest of the world. On the other, there is a deep hatred boiling to the surface. The citizens of Israel are still protesting-against the government, but also against each other; we are ripping each other to shreds on news programs , calling each other names (such as “nazis”-despicable!) and literally cursing one another. Police officers, who are there to protect us, are being attacked by fellow Jews. Just tonight, protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway were run over by an angry motorist.  Has everyone gone mad?

Facebook screenshot from the protests on the Ayalon on Saturday night.

It seems so. And I don’t see how anything will change in the near future. Unless everyone stops and takes the time to remember what’s important. We are all in this together, and when we are united we can- and do- make a huge impact on the world. From medicine to innovation, from technology to security, we are and can always be a light unto the nations. As Rosh Hashana approaches, let us all do what we can to put aside our differences and work together to once again be a united Jewish nation. We are all we’ve got.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

About the Author
Chana Resnick Pinto made aliya from Toronto in 2005 with her family and has lived in the Sharon area of Central Israel ever since. She earned a BA from Yeshiva University and an MSEd from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Chana works at Eric Cohen Books in Ra'anana and loves living in Israel. She encourages everyone to stop and smell the flowers and always appreciate the small things.
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