We stand upon the precipice of history; Israel is again being tested and its very existence remains in the balance. The storm clouds of intolerance lay both within, beyond, and at our gates. We continue to exist in a perpetual state of war.
To the northeast lies a broken country in dire disrepair, rearmed with a reemerging military superpower that supports an evil regime against the horror of humanity known as ISIS.
In the not too distant east lies a country hell-bent on the imminent destruction, which it has claimed time and time again, of the one beacon of hope for a wearied and war-torn region.
Within, there are members of two religious extremes, both unable and unwilling to put aside their traditional beliefs in order to achieve a lasting peace.
Make no mistake; the rumbling that can be heard all around us is not that of the torrential downpour marking the oncoming rainy season. Rather, it is an all-too familiar earthquake of hatred, attempting yet again to cause the ground to crumble beneath our feet.
The time has come to acknowledge that our efforts at peace through combat have been fruitless. We can either choose to be the shining light in a corner of the world, which at this time seems so dark, or continue to fight fire with heavier fire. We must cast aside our hatred of our enemies and instead look for strength in our love of our brethren.
If the images of horrific knife and car attacks reverberate silently throughout the world, we must not give in to our vicious nature. To respond to violence with violence is the mark of a weakening body. To abandon our principles of peace, which Judaism preaches again and again through prayer and practice is unacceptable.
Yes, we must defend our people, twelve tribes, which sixty-seven years ago became whole again. It seems prudent, however, to not return to those ancient roots in a region still marred by tribal conflict. Peace should not come at the cost of our collective souls.
If Jerusalem, home to the Knesset, and the religious is to be considered the head of Israel, making policies to appease the right, Tel Aviv must be its heart.
For all the problems that our population faces, which can be seen by the thousands of homeless in our stairwells and streets, or the violent protests that occurred over the winter, Tel Aviv is the shining light of Democracy in the Middle East.
This can be observed by hearing the countless languages one notices, while walking down Allenby. It is exemplified by the trips we take to the Tachana Merkazit, where we find ourselves amongst struggling African refugees, who too have lived through unimaginable horrors. It can be seen at our local pubs, where Americans, French, Russians, Ukrainians, Arabs, Hungarians, Brazilians, and Cubans can all share a drink and toast together in peace. It is the annual gay-pride parade down the Tayelet overlooking the Mediterranean. It is also the rude person that is quick to cut you in line at the bank who might simultaneously be the very one that saves your life in the event of an attack.
Tel Aviv is, unquestionably, the center of unbridled self-expression in a land marred by extremes.
We are shunned throughout the world because, like in humankind’s very nature, we rebel against what we fail to understand. It is here, where we must make a stand in the name of peace. We must march on Rabin square together, for the whole world to see.
We should choose to ignore the frustrated Facebook fanboys, who in their youthful naivety are quick to blow the flames of revenge onto an already flourishing fire rather than using the power of social media to call for a peaceful demonstration of solidarity.
While those who commit atrocities against us while the world turns away must answer for their crimes, we remain strong by not resorting to terror ourselves. Instead, we shall say in one voice, “We stand united and guided by kindness in our ultimate goal for peace.”
What is needed is not a call to arms, that some leaders blindly cry, but a resolute unity. Arming the populace with guns is not the answer. The historical antidote for the blade has always been the shield.
Through continuing to come to the aid of those who have fallen and dissuading and neutralizing the wolves that come to feed their dark desires of restitute evil, we shine for the whole world to see. If we fail, we do so as one, and in the name of peace.
First, however, we must be heard.