“As another Israeli Day of Independence has been celebrated, the all too familiar chants (not to say rants) about Israel’s need to be strong and self-reliant fill the media. Perhaps the chanters know something most of us do not; otherwise, how can you explain their insistence that independence is possible? This is true for all countries, not just for Israel; independence is a myth; interdependence is the reality of our lives.
Today, a country that wishes to be independent must focus its attention on the society rather than on the economy. The only way a country can be independent is if the people within it feel solidarity and mutual responsibility toward each other. And here lies our strength as the Jewish nation. We are the unproud proprietors of the motto, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is a shame we take no pride in it. If we recognized its value, we would embrace it as our social code and our troubles would end. It may sound like a simplistic, perhaps naïve statement, but it works. Today’s reality is one of connectedness and mutual dependence, yet we fail to accept it as a way of life, and instead try to step over one another on our way to the top of the heap. But even once we get there, if we ever do, it only lasts a minute before someone else becomes the short-lived king of the hill.
No other creature behaves this way but us, humans. And no other nation is as zealous about this game as us Jews, and especially the Jews in Israel. And since Israel is always at the center of attention, much to our dismay, we should at least embrace the opportunity to steer things in a positive direction. As proprietors of the abovementioned motto, it is our prerogative to employ it.
We may be a fractured and disjointed society, but these are mere facades to our common origin. In the eyes of the world, we are Jews regardless of attire and demeanor. Let us show that we can therefore rise above the superficial, and display unity above all differences, without eliminating them. We can, and perhaps should, remain who we are—religious, secular, or completely non-denominated. But above all that disparity, we should embrace the motto of unity. If we only dare, we will achieve not only independence, but will eliminate the anti from anti-Semitism and from anti-Israelism.”