As for advocacy, the best hasbara we can do is perform Mitzvot, i.e. commandments and build a third Temple. Being a light onto the nations means to be a “spiritual light.” I can attest from personal experience, that on a sub-conscious level, civilized people (that is, those who aren’t anti-Semites) for the most part aren’t really concerned or know that we create all this hi-tech or save lives. Those are all great things. Being the first country to set up a hospital after the Haiti earthquake is a great thing. Creating an x-ray in the form of a pill is a great thing. Creating life-saving medicine is a great thing. Helping people connect across continents is a fantastic thing. But that’s ultimately not what the world wants from us…again, on a sub-conscious level.
The nations are looking at us and thinking back to the childhood or Hollywood stories of “chosen people” and instead are seeing self-loathing and world-loathing Larry David and Woody Allen types all over their television screens…and they begin to think “chosen for what purpose exactly? Annoy us to death?” (Disclaimer #2: I love Curb Your Enthusiasm).
Whenever I see a non-Jewish tourism at the Kotel observing us as we bring in Shabbat, I can see the hope in their eyes. I can see that they are waiting for something to happen. They are waiting for us to bring light into the world and all of the evil, corruption and suffering to dissipate in the blink of an eye…simply because a few Jews are dancing and singing on a Friday at twilight, front this tiny sliver of archaeological ruin which just happens to be the outer wall of the outer wall of what used to be their Temple. This is the best hasbara. Not our micro-chips or pills, and not the endless supply of Nobel prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math and Economics.
The best thing we can do is educate the next generation on what the source of our light in the world is. We can still do all of those wonderful things listed, but only our collective spiritual elevation will allow the nations to see that we’re actually doing them. Our earthly accomplishments will shine through that much brighter via the mitzvot. Not via political campaigns, clever videos, conferences, websites or summits. And as for our financial independence from the greatest super-power known to mankind…in looking at our history, the only time Israel was truly respected, even by America, was when it trusted in God and did what it had to do.
Visit Israel Unseen, where a version of this article was originally published under the title, “Hi-Tech Hasbarah and the Incredible Shrinking Israel.”
About the Author: Greg Lauren was born in Ukraine and grew up in the NYC metro area. After working as a trader on Wall St. for 8 years, he made aliyah in 2010. Now living in Jerusalem, he runs the blog IsraelUnseen.com, where he educates young Jews about Israel, the Middle East and Judaism. His ultimate goal is to inspire young Jews to seek out their spiritual heritage and become interested in Judaism in a way that's connected to the Land of Israel itself, then visit independently and even consider moving here.
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