Israelis are brothers who must overcome divisions – opinion

According to the 2021 calendar, November 4, the secular anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, immediately precedes the first day of the Jewish month of Kislev, celebrated on November 5. One of us will start the morning in the synagogue in his hometown of Efrat; the other will go to the Western Wall to pray with the Women of the Wall, as is their custom on each Rosh Hodesh.

Is this difference a cause of distance between us? Should it make us hate each other? God forbid.

We are both Jews, we are both Zionists who love Jerusalem, we are both moved no matter how many times we are at the Western Wall, and we are both equally horrified when this holy place, full of Jewish longing, becomes the place of curses. . , spitting and violence.

There are debates around the origin of the name Kislev. One interpretation holds that the name Kislev comes from Kisel or Kisla, which means “hope”, connected to our hope for rain.

Today we need a different kind of hope, one that depends more on our behavior than on nature.

Candles set up in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in memory of the assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, October 18, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI / MAARIV)

This hope ensures that Israeli society will learn an important lesson from the assassination: that it is permissible and worth discussing and debating, but there are borders that must never be crossed. We cling to the hope that we can find a place for each of us – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform – at the Western Wall and in the wider Jewish world, to speak lovingly to each other, as a family, even when our paths diverge. We hope not to lose the ability to carry on a conversation. This hope connects the murder of Rabin with the beginning of the month of Kislev.

“We do not put out the fire of fanaticism and hatred,” said the lieutenant general. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak at the state monument marking three years after the assassination of the prime minister. “We allowed intolerance and brutality to enter the gap and spread. Thus, the longing for Yitzhak Rabin is overshadowed by concern for the society he left behind when he was assassinated. “

These words continue to ring true today. There are cracks in Israeli society and throughout the Jewish world: some stem from segregation, some are physical and geographic, and some stem from a division in our language and culture.

There were times when we knew how to fill these cracks, build bridges to connect. But today, fanaticism, hatred, impatience and brutality make it difficult for us to build those bridges. They prevent us from having a deep dialogue with those with whom we disagree.

We can blame social media for creating confusion and allowing us to write hateful things to those on the other side. But it is precisely this connection between the assassination of Rabin and Rosh Hodesh Kislev, between the ideological debates during the Oslo era and the current riots in Western Wall plaza, that demands that the leadership stand up and serve as a public example. As leaders, we must be in the place of conflict and show that there is a better way forward.

We choose this other way. We choose to speak up, debate, and sometimes agree to disagree. We decided to hope that bridges could still be built and crossed. Because we know where fanaticism and hatred lead. The late Lipkin-Shahak put it well in that same speech: “In a society like ours, which is full of people and opinions, it is likely and obvious that there will be a debate on the most fateful issues in our lives. It is important that we have discussions; It is important that the opinions of minorities are listened to with the greatest attention, that we consider their hardships, fears, inhibitions and the suffering of the individual and of the masses ”.

In our joint statement, we address public leaders and also individuals. Public leaders can and should use their influence. Reread your tweets before posting them; make sure they are not unnecessarily harsh or antagonistic. Give interviews without attacking others. Courageous leaders will still be able to get their messages across.

Heavy hand on keyboard trigger; the clenched fist in front of the Western Wall; Disdain and hatred, we’ve had enough Look where it got us. We can learn a very simple rule from our father Abraham: “And Abraham said to Lot: Let there be no quarrel between you and me, and between my shepherds and your shepherds; because we are brothers. “We are brothers even when we disagree, even when we choose different paths.

These concurrent dates and events remind us that we must hold on to hope, hope that we can have a dialogue even when there is disagreement, hope that we can have discussions and remember that we are brothers, hope that despite the cracks we will be able to build countless bridges that we will cross together.

Oded Revivi is mayor of Efrat. Dr. Yizhar Hess is Vice President of the World Zionist Organization.

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