Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has warned of the historic danger of disunity to the Jewish people and its failure to complete an eighth decade of united sovereignty, in comments he published Saturday night, the beginning of the Fast of the Tisha Be'av.
“Twice we failed and list our Jewish state, this time we will preserve it,” vowed Bennett in remarks he posted to Facebook Saturday night.
The prime minister has made several references to the historic loss of united Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel in ancient times during the last election campaign and period of coalition negotiations, and argued that holding ever more rounds of elections would endanger the modern Jewish state.
“The Jewish people twice had a Jewish state on the Land of Israel, and both times we did not succeed to complete the eighth decade as an independent state, because of internal wars and baseless hatred,” wrote the prime minister.
The Kingdom of Israel of the 11th and 10th centuries BCE split into two some 78 years after King David took the throne, while the independent Hasmonean Kingdom of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC was conquered by the Romans after 73 years of independence.
“Now that we have again, for the third time, an independent state, and we are in its eight decade, we must do everything we can to protect it - for ever,” wrote Bennett.
He said that as a child he never understand the Talmudic statement that the Second Temple was destroyed by “baseless hatred,” but that today he understood all too well, in reference to current political divides and societal schisms.
“At the time of the Roman siege on Jerusalem, the nation was divided, each group entrenched itself in its own position, and burned the food stores of the others, as part of the internal power struggle, so the Romans had a much easier task,” wrote Bennett.
“The bitter end we all know, and until today every year on this date we mourn the awful destruction which a people with a little more baseless love, restraint, and listening, could have saved us from.
“In the end, we are all brothers, and we live in the same home. If we argue less and listen more, perhaps we will not all have our appetites satiated but we will succeed in protecting our home and achieve a lot more. We don’t have to agree but we mist not hate each other.”
In an incident lacking unity and understanding, several hundred hardline religious-Zionist activists descended on the Egalitarian Section of the Western Wall and held prayer services there, severely disturbing the services of a Masorti (Conservative) group.
A spokesman for the Masorti movement said that the Orthodox group began saying the mourners prayer, and subsequently sang, during the Masorti group’s reading of the Book of Lamentations, making it extremely difficult to hear the reading.
The religious-Zionist group has used the egalitarian section during the course of last week in protest in what it said was the “government of deception’s sale of the state to the Reform movements.”
The egalitarian section is generally used by the Masorti (Conservative) and Reform movements for prayer services and celebrations, and was assigned for such purpose at the beginning of the century by the High Court of Justice.