Featured Post

The political center’s role: Security and morality

The current wave of terror calls for a response that protects Israeli security as well as its moral fiber

What is the role of the political center during days like this?

To recognize that our reality is complex. That there are no simple solutions.

We know that national resilience means we must protect ourselves — both from terrorists with knives and also from people who want to change us into something we cannot become.

It’s true that Jews will no longer go like sheep to the slaughter and if someone runs towards us with a knife we must shoot to kill. But it is also true that Jews do not cheer over a bleeding corpse because our tradition teaches “when your enemy falls do not rejoice,” and we do not sanctify death, we sanctify life.

It is true that you can protect yourself however necessary. But it is also true that it is forbidden to carry out a lynch against a person lying unconscious on the floor, even if he is a terrorist.

It is true that Jews have been praying towards the Temple Mount for 2,000 years and that the liberation of the Western Wall was nothing short of a divine miracle. But it is also true that we don’t want a Third Intifada and we don’t want to ignite the Jihadi fire throughout the Arab world.

It is true that Jerusalem will not be divided. But it is also true that if concrete barricades successfully protect nursery schools, then it is better to put up those barricades because children should not have to fear Molotov cocktails. They are not soldiers, they are children.

It is true that destroying the homes of terrorists is a justified step in our fight against terror. But it is also true that when the Supreme Court demands this be carried out according to proper legal procedures then that is how it must be and we should not back down one inch in the face of those who provoke. The rule of law is the basis of our lives here and without the Supreme Court there is no democracy.

It is true that there is a lot of anti-Semitism — half the world is against us and the international press is hostile. But is also true that we have many friends and we have to be willing to listen to what they are saying and value the fact that they stand beside us.

It is true that the Palestinians — 3.5 million Muslims who are stuck like a bone in our throat — are not partners but the enemy. But it is also true that specifically because of this we must separate from them as quickly and efficiently as possible, with the IDF retaining its ability to operate in their territory to protect Israeli citizens.

It is true that the Arab members of Knesset, especially those from the Balad party, are irresponsible and try to ignite the street and undermine coexistence, and that the Knesset needs to consider what to do with them. But it is also true that we cannot play into their hands and we must recognize that there are 1.2 million Israeli-Arabs and we must find a way to live together with them.

It is true that the radical left is bizarre and traitorous and the radical right is violent and breaks the law. But it is also true that most of us are not like that. Most Israelis are in the center, which is not prepared to allow extremism to control our lives.

We expect our leadership to find solutions.

The leadership that we bring to Israel says that our test is to stand strong against our enemies without flinching but also to protect our identity — to remember that there are no instant solutions, that this is a long road, that we cannot choose between survival and Jewish values — we must implement both.

During days like these we must unite.

Unity is created when everyone recognizes that it won’t be 100 percent the way they wanted or believed. Because, in the words of Maimonides, “the upright path is the middle path.”

What this country needs during these days, more than ever, is to rediscover our common language. Our true strength comes from our unity and our unity comes from understanding that we are complex.

We are determined and we are ethical. We are fighting for our lives and preserving human dignity. We are defending Jews and remembering Jewish values.

If we hate, we will lose. If we become like them, we will lose.

If we find the way – even during these difficult days — to preserve that which unites us, no one will be able to defeat us — ever.

About the Author
Yair Lapid is a member of Knesset and the chairman of the Yesh Atid party.