Ynet: “The Soldier Is Not To Blame—We Are Responsible”

From my column in Ynet, “The Soldier Is Not To Blame—We Are Responsible”

So fast, too fast, we sealed the fate of the soldier. However, as a society, we are all responsible for his guilt since it stems from negligence and our inferiority as a society facing the world. So, before we rush to sentence him, we had better judge ourselves first.

The story of the Kfir Brigade soldier who was accused of murdering a terrorist reflects the state of Israeli society. The moment that the video was publicized, the case upset the entire country. Social networks were seething and churning, and the debate about the values of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and its morality were at the center of the social focus.

A document called “The Spirit of the IDF” was published in 1994, which stated the values and norms that should be kept by the IDF. It included different values, including shared responsibility, personal example, friendship, a shared mission, credibility, and so on. It is surprising that these values are not part of our civilian life at all, and if they do come up, it is in actually in the military framework.

This case raises many questions. When did we lose our social conscience, according to which every individual is a representative of the state? When did we stop taking responsibility for what comes out of our mouths or our keyboards? What happened that we have stopped feeling that every soldier who goes out to battle is like our own son? Do these signs indicate that we have failed as a society?

No entry into politics

One of the most troubling phenomena is the speed by which different spokesmen stormed at this case. Those who know how to spread their promises when they are out of the influential circles did it best, but once they reached a position where they do have a say, they became more moderate and gave up the principles they espoused.

This isn’t the time or place for political gain, and certainly not before a decision has been made by those in charge. So, it would be better if public figures would refrain from public debate until all of the details are investigated.

The endless struggle between the right and the left wings is also pointless in this case. Every side continues to adhere to its stands. Those on the right wing believe that we can win by force, while those on the left wing believe in the power of concession. However, even if the two ideologies could come together, they wouldn’t bring us to the state that we all wish for.

A Jewish soul yearns

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, every Jew is rooted in a sense of guilt, a kind of feeling of inferiority regarding the world, which obliges him to examine himself constantly. This phenomenon stems from an upper spiritual source.[1]

The nations of the world are pointing their accusing fingers at us claiming that we are the source of all of the evil in the world, starting from imaginary blood libels, to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to unfounded accusations alleging that Jews are behind the terrorist attacks in Brussels. It may sound unrealistic and irrational, but surprisingly, deep inside, we accept this feeling.[2]

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the root of this inferiority complex stems from the fact that we must be a Light to the nations, which means to be united and set an example of a model society for the entire world. As long as we try to escape this mission, we will be blamed for all of the afflictions that the world undergoes.[3]

Neither left nor right—mutual guarantee above all

The new golden middle road will begin on the crossroad between right and left. This middle road is paved when we succeed, even a little, to ascend above our egoism that separates us. This road is the solution. Without it, we will not be able to build a united society in Israel, and our state may crumble to pieces because of the internal war between us.

Just as the prophets said, the mission to convey the method of connection to the world and to connect it obliges us to implement the basic approach of “Love covers all transgressions”[4] once again.

According to this method, it makes no difference which side of the political map one is on. Everyone can continue to adhere to his position, and at the same time, work for connection with others. The moment we begin to connect despite our differences of opinion and political parties, we will spur a force from an upper level that can balance and build a new level above the left and right wings. They will not disappear, and they are not supposed to, but when we connect above them, we create the golden middle road.[5]

For the sake of unity

Deciding the fate of the soldier is deciding our fate, for his fault is our responsibility as a society since it stems from our negligence. It is better to judge ourselves first and only then sentence him. Just as parents sometimes disagree with regard to their children and still try to keep the family together, so we must rise above our disputes and look for any possible way to increase people’s awareness regarding the important value in our life, unity, and thus spare ourselves and the world any unnecessary suffering.[6]


[1] “Every man of Israel has an internal point in the heart, which is considered simple faith. This is an inheritance from our fathers, who stood at Mount Sinai. However, it is covered by many Klipot (Shells), which are all kinds of dresses of Lo Lishma (Not for Her Name), and the shells should be removed. Then his basis will be called ‘faith alone,’ without any support and outside help.” Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), Shamati, Article 199 “To Every Man of Israel”

[2] “It is a fact that Israel are the most hateful nation, whether because of religious reasons, racial reasons , capitalistic reasons, communistic reasons or cosmopolitan reasons, etc. because the hate precedes all the reasons, and everyone expresses his hate according to his own psychology.” Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Last Generation”

[3] “Israel brings Light to the world as it is said, (Isaiah 60:3) ‘And nations shall walk at thy light’” Midrash Rabbah, Shir HaShirim, Section 4, Verse 2

“The main part of the creation and of free will, and of the corrections and the corruption of the world—all depend on Israel,” Likutim 1, “Siach Isaac,” Part 2, Compilations A

“Also, it is upon the Israeli nation to qualify itself and all the people of the world through Torah and Mitzvot, to develop until they take upon themselves that sublime work of the love of others, which is the ladder to the purpose of Creation, which is Dvekut with Him.” Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Arvut,” “Mutual Guarantee”

[4] “Hatred arouses quarrels, but love covers all transgressions.” (Proverbs 10:12)

[5] “Peace is mainly meant to connect two opposites and so if you see a person whose views are totally opposite from yours and it seems absolutely impossible to be in peaceful relations with him and when you see two people who are complete opposites, don’t say that it is impossible to make peace between them, since this is the principle of the wholeness of peace, to try to make peace between two opposites.” Likutei Etzot Peace entry

“We are not required to be neutral but to be united, to be united in common mutual guarantee and mutual responsibility, and mutual influence. We are required not to blur the areas between the unions…but to show common recognition in the common reality and sharing the mutual responsibility when being tested. The separation of the hearts is the illness that today’s nations are afflicted by and those who wish to heal it by forcing people to unite are mistaken. We lack the unity of the organic structure. At the moment there is no remedy for it but for people from different circles who have different views to need each other with a pure heart and who take the trouble to discover the common basis together,” (Martin Buber, “Education and World-View”)

[6] “The success of our nation depends only on brotherly love, on our connection as members of one family.” Shmuel David Lutzato

“We cannot manage without unity, love and peace that will include all of Israel together in love and unity.” Likutei Halachot, Hoshen Mishpat—Halchot Erev

“We did not open our eyes to see that only unity can save us: only if we unite will our efforts be fruitful.” Eliezer Ben Yehuda, “We have not Learned our Lesson”

“For the matter of social unity, which can be the source of every joy and success, applies particularly among bodies and bodily matters in people, and the separation between them is the source of every calamity and misfortune.” Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Freedom”

“The secret of the unity of the world resides in Israel.” Rav Kook, “Orot Hakodesh” 2
From Ynet 3/28/16

One Comment

  1. After reading the story of this soldier one has to think. Yes there is injustice in this world and a whole lot of work needs to be done to correct that so that peace may reign for all people on this earth, so… may the people trying to do that be blessed. Hopefully someday we will have a fair and caring world for all…..really. However, in all of these cases, and they happen in many countries, one must also feel and wonder about the fear of those, very often, young people on the front lines of defense. The ones facing the protest crowds of thousands behind a hand held shield, those approaching a car or a building not knowing who is inside or whether or not they have a weapon, facing a potential enemy they do not understand when they have no way of knowing whether or not their own lives and the lives they are encharged with protecting are in immediate danger. That would be very difficult now wouldn’t it? So this article is entirely correct. It is the whole society which is to blame, and judging from a safe distance is the worst judging of all..

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