Photo Credit: WDR Free

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, I commanded incredibly diverse tank crews. Based on modern terminology, some of them could have been described as left-wing: those from kibbutzim, moshavim and from North Tel Aviv, others as right-wing: those who grew up in settlements, or secular and religious Israelis.

The war was unbearable. Many lost close friends, both left- and right-wing. Just like then, so too now, the enemy does not differentiate between us. Its purpose is to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth in its entirety. And although we have created a powerful protective iron wall, I am confident we will still need to fight for our fundamental right to live as a free people in our homeland.

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We will again need to join hands, both Left and Right, to protect our country. Therefore, even in the heat of a debate within Israeli society, we must keep the boundaries and not destroy the delicate fabric of our society. It certainly should not be unraveled in the name of politics.

Calling left-wingers traitors or right-wingers a primitive herd are two of several dangerous statements that have been made in recent weeks. These undermine the very root of our existence.

Many Israelis feel some politicians betrayed them by putting their personal interests first. Their anger is understandable. They relied on the political campaigns of Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and New Hope head Gideon Sa’ar, and discovered their promises were fake.

It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that a Knesset member might become prime minister with six seats alone, and the only glue that holds the coalition together is the shared hatred of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Who would have thought the day would come when Arab Knesset members who openly support the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization will have a say in whether the Jewish state should go to war or the Negev is abandoned to illegal Bedouin construction.

In any case, the biggest concern is whether Israel will remain a Jewish state or the influence of post-Zionism and post-Judaism will quickly turn it into a state for all the nations. Another worry is that a government led by many factions would need to examine every action from all perspectives until it is incapable of making a decision, at a time that demands a firm hand.

Despite the anger and the pain, the debate must have boundaries. It takes very little to start a fire. Putting it out would require much more effort.

The Balfour protesters have contributed significantly to the contempt in political discourse and abused the right to protest. They have achieved their goal for now. Most likely, a short-lived one. And yet, we should not emulate their behavior.

Is there room for demonstrations, protests and debates? Absolutely. However, let’s remember that we have no other country and no other nation. Let’s wish for a better day when Israelis will not feel betrayed by politicians who break their campaign promises.

{Written by Dr. Haim Shine and reposted from the Israel Hayom website}

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