Once common only at U.S. and European universities, Israeli higher education institutions have now become the site of heightened political confrontation. Images of heated demonstrations — some of them turned violent — in which Palestinian flags are raised in front of Israeli flags, are commonplace on Israeli campuses. Statements of support for terrorists and incitement chants such as, “Death to Israel” resound with increasing frequency. So, what are we waiting for? Either we begin to move toward Jewish unity, or soon there will be no more land in which to weep.
The commemoration of Nakba Day, the day the Arabs call a “catastrophe” marks the day of Israel’s independence. Its onset last week initiated widespread protests against Israel’s existence. The physical clashes between Jewish and Arab students show that the situation on Israeli territory is deteriorating. At prestigious higher education institutions such as Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University, there are increasing tensions between demonstrators who support the Palestinian cause and pro-Israel activists.
Jewish students worry about their safety, they feel threatened and fear that the situation could escalate into terrorist attacks on campus. They see that both the authorities and the administrators of the universities turn a blind eye toward campus antisemitism on the grounds of freedom of expression.
Everything we do in the context of rapprochement between Jews and Arabs, we do wrong. Nothing we have done has brought any good, nor will it bring any good. Unfortunately, we do not learn from our mistakes. So, we try again and again to bring the Jews and Arabs closer together by all possible means: at universities, in the workplace, and in everything at our disposal. In the end, it becomes clearer that we just prepare live ammunition to shoot ourselves in the feet.
Radical opinions that hanker to wipe Israel off the map hide beneath the facade of “intellectual” debates. The problem is simply that Jews and Arabs fail to live together in harmony on Israeli territory, period. Judging by the current circumstances, a point may be reached where we will be forbidden as Jews to enter our own capital, Jerusalem, until eventually we will have no place in the Land of Israel to call our own.
No Arab person who feels that this land belongs to them can support the State of Israel. I understand them. They will use their seats in the Israeli Congress, their ministerial positions in the government, and all other possible means to push us into the sea. I do not think there is any real intention for coexistence, even if such is not openly stated now. We as Jews must begin to open our eyes and realize that we can only rely on ourselves, on our ability to unite to secure our place in Israel.
The problem is that we are not idealistic enough, and instead only think of how to serve ourselves at the expense of others. We do not rise above the private individual ego. The Arabs realize that this weakens us and they take advantage of it. In contrast, they understand that their success depends on how connected they are, on how strong they are together, and therefore they succeed everywhere.
Do not get me wrong. I, too, want the Arab population to do well and live a quiet, normal life, but land for peace will never be the solution. Instead, we must create the conditions to divide the population into two peoples and make it clear that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. How long will we continue our endless debates and realize that this is how it has to be? The problem is that by then, it may be too late.
But to live in the land of Israel, we must earn this right or we had better give up the land. We can triumph over any threat and prevail only when we use the help found in our special Jewish spirit.
Today, the opposite is the case; we are not carrying out our role. We have a fragmented society with all kinds of groups that come from different countries but without a common vision. This checkerboard approach may work in America which is not existentially threatened, but for Israel it could spell a death sentence. Quite simply, Israel will survive and thrive to the extent that Jews are bound together by good relations, reciprocity, and mutual care. The sooner we move in that direction, the better.
Dr. Michael Laitman is a global thinker, a prolific author who has published over 40 books on a variety of topics including world affairs, economics, education, antisemitism and Kabbalah.