In less than two months we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, the most important development for our people — possibly in our history —but definitely since the times of the Bible. Seventy-five years of independence, with Gd’s help and our partnership, of being in charge of our destiny, of developing a society that is both Jewish and Democratic and respects the rights of all. We have disagreements, we have not been perfect and we have made mistakes, but I do not think that anyone alive at the beginning of the 20th century or earlier would have believed how successful we would become.
Our successes include the settling of millions of olim, economic development, continuous building, universities, yeshivot, schools, the army, technology, culture, and most importantly the diversity of ideas and people who call Israel home. Of course, there are many challenges we still face and will continue to face into the future. That is the nature of the world. Life is very good, but not perfect. Each of us, created in Gd’s image, enters the world with the opportunity to improve.
As the discourse in our society seems to focus on what separates us — to the extent that extremists on the left and on the right cannot accept the “other” — let the voices of the majority tell each other, our political leaders, and the world that we are working toward a more positive but also more complicated direction. A country in which we can celebrate what we have in common and respect our differences, a society that can be represented by a mosaic, where each piece is different, but when put together the outcome is more beautiful than the individual pieces.
Each of us must emphasize what we have in common: a love for the state of Israel, for the Jewish people and for all citizens of the world. Instead of focusing on our differences and accusing the other side of destroying the state, we need to accept that, despite our differences, we have a commitment to the continued flourishing of the state of Israel.
We are brothers and sisters. We are one family with one destiny . We can do this together. We should have hearts full of love, ears ready to listen and hands willing to help others.
When we work together we have the ability to solve problems and build a better future.
Unity is not uniformity. PJC
Gary Coleman, a Pittsburgh native, graduate of Hillel Academy, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh lives in Merkaz Shapira, Israel.