Merav Galili

The war’s dual phenomenon of Jewish unity

Family and friends attend the funeral of three members of the Sharabi family, Lian, Noya and Yahel, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, 2023, in Moshav Kfar HaRif, southern Israel, October 25, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Family and friends attend the funeral of three members of the Sharabi family, Lian, Noya and Yahel, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, 2023, in Moshav Kfar HaRif, southern Israel, October 25, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Since the onset of the war launched by Hamas on October 7, with an unprecedented attack on Israel, I’ve met with countless international solidarity delegations arriving in Israel from across the globe. Each meeting leaves me with an overwhelming sense of affection, love, and shared destiny that binds us – Israelis and Jews from around the world – together. These encounters are a living testament to the unbreakable connection between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora – a bond that has been our collective source of strength throughout history, especially during times of national strife.

The Israel-Hamas war, a pivotal moment in the history of Israel and the Jewish people, has spurred an unparalleled outpour of support from Jewish communities worldwide. This solidarity is not just a response to an immediate crisis, but a reflection of our enduring relationship. As noted by renowned scholar Dr. David Hartman, “The relationship between Israel and the Diaspora is not merely a bond of faith and heritage but a powerful alliance that strengthens both sides.”

Despite occasional tensions over religious and national issues, this alliance has remained steadfast. Jewish communities across the world have consistently stood by Israel, reinforcing our resilience in the face of adversity. The relationship is symbiotic, though. In times of trouble, Diaspora Jewry stands by Israel, just as Israel has stood by Diaspora Jewry throughout the years, as highlighted by President Joe Biden’s important acknowledgment that the safety of Jews worldwide is tied to the existence of Israel.

It is for this reason that the unsettling rise of antisemitism in Europe and the United States has only served to strengthen and deepen our bonds. Confronted with this scourge, our unity becomes not just a source of comfort but a powerful weapon against hatred. As eloquently put by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, “When antisemitism rises, it is a signal that we, as a Jewish people, need to stand together, stronger and more united than ever. Our shared destiny is not just a bond but our greatest strength.”

As we navigate through these complex times, it is crucial to remember significance of our unity and collective strength – both in Israel and outside of it.

Many have spoken about how the October massacre and the war that ensued have allowed Israelis from across the political and social spectrum to put deep divisions to rest and unite in a spirit of shared destiny. Despite the brutal reality and far-reaching implications, the war has evolved into a catalyst for unity amongst Israelis, providing them with the grounds to forge meaningful connections that supersede their differences. As groups from diverse backgrounds come together, the new narrative is one of unity and togetherness, prevailing over that of discord. The new spirit is one of a common destiny, eclipsing political dissension. It is a testament to the collective strength that emerges when a nation faces crises.

From my meetings with delegations visiting Israel, it is clear to me that we are also witnessing a parallel phenomenon in Diaspora support for Israel. The conflict, and the shared struggle of all Jews in the Diaspora against the rising wave of antisemitism, has served as a crucible for fostering a spirit of togetherness. Beyond geographical boundaries, the Diaspora is standing shoulder to shoulder with Israelis, prompting a collective response that speaks volumes.

The global Jewish Diaspora, in unison, is exemplifying the truth that when one part of the Jewish community faces challenges, the entire community feels the reverberations and responds with a unified front.

As we navigate the response to the October 7 attacks and the complex tapestry of our nation, let us remain grounded in the knowledge that our collective strength lies in our unity. The unwavering bonds between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora – and between all Jews – are not only a testament to our past but a beacon guiding us into a future where solidarity prevails over division, and shared destiny triumphs over discord.

About the Author
Dr. Merav Galili is the CEO of the Menomadin Foundation, an international Israeli-based impact fund that promotes innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges in Israel and Africa, in a model that combines strategic philanthropy and impact investments. Over two decades in senior management positions in academia and non-profit organizations, Dr. Galili has specialized in establishing local and international partnerships to promote business and social initiatives. In her last position, she served as Vice President for Development at Bar-Ilan University.
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