Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
We, the people of Israel, are far from being united. Leading up to the tragic events on October 7, we seemed like anything but one nation. We made little effort to draw closer to one another, and we disregarded our fellow citizens. With each passing year, it feels like we drift further apart. And as a result, we must ask ourselves, can we truly be considered the nation of Israel?
In other nations that have histories of wars and internal strife, division might seem like a natural phenomenon. However, the people of Israel are different. We are a nation that earns its title only when we unite. When we remain divided, we cease to be a nation in the true sense. That is what being Israeli truly means, and specifically that point makes us unique.
Many people around the world often wonder about us, asking, “Who are the people of Israel?” They form distinct opinions about us, recognizing our unique status.
We willingly accepted the challenge of being a nation under specific conditions thousands of years ago, which remain relevant today. For us to be the nation of Israel, we must uphold the condition of uniting “as one man with one heart,” where “all of Israel are friends.” This requires an ongoing commitment to unity, a commitment that should only grow stronger with each passing year. Unfortunately, however, the reality is quite different.
Instead of growing closer together, we do the opposite. This past year in particular, Israel became an ugly spectacle of more and more people taking to the streets shouting slanderous and hateful vitriol upon one another.
Before the tragedy on October 7, there was significant division in Israeli society, and that is the crux of the issue. It is true that having multiple opinions is a well-known aspect of Jewishness, but we must rise above it. We can disagree in our views and still maintain a strong connection. The key is to have a constructive relationship alongside our differences, like a family, and uphold the unifying principle that initially brought us together as a nation: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Without this bond, we cannot truly be close, nor can we candidly consider ourselves a nation.