“Where there is unity there is always victory,” wrote famed Latin writer Publilius Syrus. Unfortunately, in recent years this important concept is being lost somewhat in Israel.
“Where there is unity there is always victory.”Publilius Syrus
For well over 100 years, there has been a war against Jewish sovereignty in its ancestral and indigenous homeland, but instead of defeating it, we are too busy fighting among ourselves.
Israeli politics has always been divisive, but it was mainly in the great spirit of Jewish debate that has been a vital part of our tradition for millennia.
When the time came to fight our enemies, however, we put our ideological differences aside to battle against the enemy at the gates.
Israel has always united to defeat enemies
During the 13th government under Levi Eshkol in 1967, the Rafi and Gahal (Herut-Liberal bloc) parliamentary groups were added to the government prior to the Six Day War. This allowed a unified sense of purpose necessary to defeat the armies of annihilation massing at Israel’s borders.
It was exactly when all the leaders of Israel had one focus, on the defeat of its enemies, that they were able to draw up the necessary plans and strategy in order to win a war they dare not lose.
It should be seen as no coincidence that the Jewish state’s most stunning victory came when we stood united. There could be no mistakes and no distractions from the necessary actions at hand, and this should be held as an example for all subsequent Israeli leaders.
However, that lesson has since long been forgotten, with our current political parties voting against their own ideologies and consciences just to oppose those who sit across the aisle.
Israeli politics: Opposition for opposition's sake
This is not to take aim at the current government or the current opposition, because each was equally culpable when the roles were reversed only a few months ago.
We can ill afford necessary laws from being voted down or necessary government decisions from being opposed when they will help our defense and security.
We have seen in the recent spat of deadly and bloody terrorist attacks that our enemies do not care if we are ultra-Orthodox, religious, traditional or secular. They did not lower their guns or their rockets when there is a left-wing or centrist government any more than when there is a right-wing government.
When it comes to the fight against our enemies, especially Palestinians involved in terrorism and violent rejectionism, we need to be resolute and go on the attack. Just as we did in 1967, we need to be proactive rather than merely reactive.
The measures that we need to take will be attacked and pilloried around the world, by many who do not believe that the Jewish state has the right to self-defense, even if they claim it in their mealy-mouthed press communiques.
To meet these demands and pressures, we need all of our leaders, regardless of whether coalition or opposition, to say clearly that when it comes to the safety of its citizens, all are one and united. They will work together to make the best decisions to attain victory over those who seek the constant shedding of our blood, pain and misery.
THE SOULS of our most recent victims cry out for a response, but one built on unity. Politics needs to be secondary and subordinate to victory; there is no other way.
Many these days are talking about the danger of the collapse of the Third Jewish Commonwealth. Every child in Israel knows that the Second Jewish Commonwealth was destroyed because of disunity and “baseless hatred.” We know that the might of the Roman army could not be held at the gates if the Jewish defenders were not unified.
However, there was another more obvious reason for the fall of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. The greatest Jewish theologian Maimonides attributed the Jews’ loss of the Temple to their failure to learn “the art of war.” In other words, they were too busy with other matters to really understand and prepare for what was facing them. Preparing for war and conflict should always be a constant focus.
They say history repeats itself, and we dare not ignore these important lessons. Israel can and should have a robust debate on all issues – that is the bedrock of our vibrant and liberal democracy. Demonstrations, reforms, legal debates and disagreements are necessary for our national progress, and each can and should take a position on these issues.
Nevertheless, there should be one issue that rises above, and that is our nation’s security and the safety of every citizen therein, regardless of their background.
This should not just be a point of unity, but our continuing focus, because our enemies are trying every single moment to shed our blood and end Jewish sovereignty. We dare not become distracted from that.
Our unity can be our greatest weapon and our national focus should always be used to defeat our enemies, because without them, there can be no victory.
The writer, a major (res.) in the IDF, is CEO of Mivtachi Israel, an organization of former IDF officers, and an adviser to the Israel Victory Project.