The key to Israel’s success has always been unity among Jews. When we fought in 1948, we had it. In those tense days leading up to the Six Day War, a beatnik in Greenwich Village would pound on the door of a Chassid in Crown Heights demanding his tefillin to pray for the Jewish State.
The results were outright miracles.
We could sure use some of that unity right now. The good news is that every Jew on earth wants it – as long as it’s his type of unity. That’s where we get into trouble.
It’s also where we make a big mistake. We see unity as an obligation to see things through one point of view. All of us must become democrats. Everyone must favor the annexation of the West Bank. Unity is nothing less than each individual forming a single file line.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you want to see best example of Jewish unity, go to Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is the heart of hi-tech Israel. The city boasts hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, programmers, salespeople all burning the midnight oil to transform their startup into the next Google.
I thought wearing my tzitzit would make finding work impossible. What actually happened shocked me. Nobody cared. Nobody expressed any opinion one way or another. Every company had people who were secular. Every company had people who were religious. A Haredi with his payot dangling freely to his jaw was busy coding the user interface alongside someone who was painted in tattoos from his elbow to his shoulder. They only became upset when their program encountered an error.
Everyone who interviewed me concerned themselves with one thing: how could I bring their company closer to reaching its potential? As a native English speaker, how could I promote their products to the English-speaking world and its $24 trillion economy?
That’s when everything became clear.
When we demand unity of thought, all of our differences become a liability.
The people I saw in these companies had goals. Each person was valued in terms of what he or she could do to bring everyone across the finish line. My English accented Hebrew, along with the kippa and tzitzit I wore meant a new face and a fresh perspective towards that end.
When we demand unity of purpose, all of our differences become a precious asset. People with opposite views on politics, religion, and life suddenly have something new to offer.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin called the Spring of 1967 a time unlike any other. We were unified on one goal: survival. We were at our best in 1948 when we all focused on the very same objective. Times are different. We have been blessed to live in an era where the focus of every Jew is now prosperity. It’s up to us to apply this somehow to the hearts and minds of every member of our nation.
Once we rediscover a purpose so wonderful that we all want it, we will begin to see each other for their role in its ultimate fulfillment. We will respect them. We will love them.
That’s Jewish Unity.
David Ben Horin has enjoyed success in Israel over the last 20 years as a student, tourist, citizen, soldier, hi-tech manager, husband, father. He developed www.succeedinisrael.com, a 5-hour, 20-video series on how to develop the right skills for a successful career in Israel so you can move here, and earn a good living right away! It’s available for $99.