One of the most striking events of the last few weeks was the funeral of Staff Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli. A dual US-Israeli citizen, originally from California, he was a “lone soldier” (ie, a soldier with no family living in Israel). At his funeral, thousands who did not know him came to express their thanks, and support for his grieving family.
This moring, I turned on the (radio) news, and caught the tail end of the previous program. Someone who had been at the funeral (and apparently who has written a song about it) said (approximately) the following:
“What is terror? Terror is the sowing of fear and hate. Hamas wants us to hate and live in fear. Instead they are bringing out the ‘ahavat chinam’ (love of our fellow man) in us.”
Unfortunately, this is only partly true. Yes, there is a very large consensus in Israel that we are behind our troops. We pray for their safety, weep over every loss. For most people, there is no such thing as skipping the hourly news updates. There is also a widespread unanimity that this time we need to take enough action that we will not be replaying this movie in another two years… and that the constant “dribble” of rockets aimed to our south needs to be stopped.
But here’s the rub. “Everyone and his uncle” has a different idea of exactly how to achieve this. And this has brought out a certain ugliness, discord, and polarization between various segments of Israeli society.
So I call on all of us to not let Hamas reap the victory of building an internal divisiveness amongst us. Let us answer their terror with trying to hear our neighbors, our colleagues, and encouraging more “ahavat chinam”.