It is election time in Israel, again, the fifth campaign in less than four years. It is said that Israel is divided between three main factions: Left, Right, and Tired, too tired to care. Yet, the political situation points to a deeper problem: division. There is division in the nation, division in the government, division everywhere and in every direction. Because there is division in the nation, there is division in the government. This division is really our only problem.
Politicians capitalize on division. Because the nation is divided, it allows them to echo it, which then increases the division even more. On the one hand, politicians laud unity. On the other hand, that unity invariably means “Let everyone unite around me, with me at the center, and obeying my words.”
Not only is this unity a lie, but everyone knows it is a lie. Yet, we Jews have a soft spot for unity. Because of our heritage, unity plays a sensitive chord in our hearts, and politicians sense this and profess to advance it in order to exploit our sensitivity to it. But no one means it, no one cares, and specifically in Israel, this lie is the most obvious and the most putrid.
Indeed, why should anyone agree with anyone else? What would agreeing with someone else give them? If people want to win and rule, why should they agree with anyone? Because they want to win, they not only fight against each other, but even if they lose, they do not let the winner rule and do everything they can to overthrow the government so that they might emerge victorious after yet another round of elections.
And the people? Who cares about the people?
The only solution to the incessant fighting is to spread the view among the public that regardless of the election results, the parties must respect the election and respect each other. Only if the people, the electorate, insist that this is the code of conduct in Israeli politics will it happen. At the moment, we do not have such a culture, but rather a culture of continuous belligerence. Perhaps we simply did not suffer enough to realize that we have to change our approach to politics and to each other.
If we were wiser, we would understand that there is no point trying to convince anyone or trying to crush anyone. We would understand that our differences are like two legs to stand on. If we had only one leg, we would fall. But with two legs, one on the right and one on the left, we are steady and can stand tall.
Until we learn that we need all views and all perspectives, we will never have a stable political system that actually serves the people rather than the politicians. And until we learn the value of connection among people, we will never learn that lesson.
Therefore, in order to heal our ailing political system, we need to start brandishing our unity. This will signal to our politicians that they, too, must nurture it among them, and in the entire system of the government.