“Bad Neighbors Should Part Ways” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Bad Neighbors Should Part Ways

A few hours after US President Joe Biden departed from Israel, Islamic Jihad fired several rockets at Israeli cities. Israel’s automatic response was to retaliate with bombs at empty warehouses that harmed no one and caused little damage. In this usual scenario, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are running the show. They have the initiative and Israel only responds. When they want, there is quiet in Israel; when they want, there is no quiet in Israel. Israel’s response, it seems, makes no difference. In this war of attrition, we, Israel, are clearly not on the winning side. Our enemies will keep hurting us until we want to leave this country; this is their goal. Therefore, if we want to stay here, the only solution is to completely separate ourselves from them. Bad neighbors should part ways, not stay in the same place and go on fighting.

If your neighbor does not stop trying to kill you or force you out of your home, yet you want to live, then you have two options: leave, or force your neighbor to leave. When no reconciliation is possible, there needs to be total separation.

Therefore, the State of Israel should be cleared of anyone who threatens its existence or the existence of its residents. Additionally, anyone who tries to kill Israelis from outside of Israel should be treated the same as he is treating Israelis. It is not politics; it is common sense, and every democratic country in the world applies this principle.

Trying to reason or compromise with people who do not listen to reason and do not want to compromise is not political moderateness; it is folly. This approach has led to relinquishing more and more territory, which invariably becomes a basis for more rockets, bombs, and knife attacks on Israeli citizens. In short, it does not improve the situation, but makes it far worse because there is no intention on the other side to live side by side, but to drive us out. Consequently, every bit of ground we waive is another victory for the other side, which emboldens it and makes it more audacious.

It is true that the world will not like it if Israel forced a separation of population, but there is no other choice. If we want to survive, our attitude toward the Palestinians should be that there is no contact with them whatsoever, and anyone who tries to kill us, we kill them first.

However, total separation is only a temporary solution, only the first half of what we have to do, the half that should enable us to carry out the second, more important task.

This second half pertains to what we have to do among ourselves. Toward ourselves, we should be just as tough, but toward cohesion rather than separation. The only thing that determines our endurance is our social cohesion, our unity. Therefore, this should be our sole focus when it comes to Israeli society.

Unity does not mean uniformity. It does not mean that we must all think the same or want the same things and have the same goals. Unity means that above all our many differences, we feel as one nation, and each faction in the nation contributes its unique perspective to the common pool of ideas and attitudes. In this way, we will not have a divided society, but a society that is vital, vibrant, and dynamic.

The secret of our people’s success throughout the centuries has not been our intellect, but the reason for our intellect and fortitude. That reason is that we have always had different views, yet we have known how to keep ourselves together despite our different views. The constant arguments and debates have developed us and made us resilient and smart.

Today, because we have become intolerant toward each other, we are very weak and vulnerable, as each side blames the other for its woes. In truth, the fault is not in this or that view, but in the fact that we cannot rise above them and keep ourselves together.

In fact, the whole purpose of our diverse viewpoints is to rise above them and form a canopy of unity under which all views can exist. If we try to revoke an opposing view, we end up canceling our own view, as well, since our view can assert itself and develop only in relation to other views that stand against it.

And finally, if we establish unity above our divided views, we will set an example to the world, the example that it wants to see from us. We embody in our nation every viewpoint on the planet. If we can unite above our myriad opinions, we will show the world the way toward peace among the nations, too.

By this, and only by this will we win the favor of the world. Then, even the Palestinians will make peace with us.

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