The compass is a tool known to us all. No navigator will go to any mission without it. It is a simple tool, yet far beyond our understanding.The needle always points toward the north – to the North Pole. The compass always knows where its destination is – and therefore, it’s the most helpful tool to the navigator. Doesn’t matter how, when or why – it would point to the same place. But there is one fault with the compass. If you held it at the North Pole itself, the needle would be confused and spin, and wouldn’t know where to point. Where did the north go?
While living outside of Israel for 2000 years, we knew exactly what we wanted. Our compass kept pointing east toward Israel. We knew where we would get security and hope. We still pray for the same things: “… next year in Jerusalem.” But something very peculiar happened when we arrived in Israel 120 years ago. Our compass started to get confused.
Today, our brothers and sisters, the Jewish people in Israel, are dealing with a huge polarization among themselves. There are inner-conflicts, false accusations, baseless hatred and an emphasis on the insignificant. Getting lost is what’s really important – education, Jewish values, a better understanding of each other and cooperation. The upcoming elections are the best example to see that. The campaigns – by all parties – deal mainly with intimidation and reasons not to choose the other. Some people aren’t even sure that Israel is what is best for the Jewish people. The compass simply is going crazy.
About 120 years ago, Achad Ha’am wrote in his letters – “Emet From Eretz Israel” – in order for the Jewish people to thrive, we can’t focus all of our efforts on the land of Israel. We need to have a compass elsewhere, always guiding us. And where would that be? In America.
Now, more than ever, American Jewry plays an important role in the survival and the future of worldwide Jewry – with an emphasis on Israel. Our sanctuary. Our homeland. Our family.
We Israelis are very stubborn. It would be almost impossible for us to admit that we need help. Just like a navigator who insists he can do it on his own – until it’s too late for him. But nevertheless, we still have our amazing family here, in this great country of the United States of America.
I call now to everyone who cares about our family in Israel – recalibrate your compasses. Israel is the Jewish home. Israel is the place that we were exiled from 2000 years ago, and still influences our everyday values. Israel is the place where people from our own shtetls in Europe decided to move 100 years ago. Israel is us.
How do we recalibrate our compasses? We study. We learn. We act. Everything begins with education. We all want to be advocates for one cause or another, but we simply can’t, we won’t have a wide enough base of knowledge.
The upcoming elections are probably the result of the existing situation and might not reflect the best situation for our people: A lot of parties with no significant unity for one party or another. People in Israel are losing hope and confidence in the different governments and not only because of the politicians. It’s because we have forgotten what’s important.
With some effort, we can make the dreams of the founding fathers of Zionism come true. We can help our brothers and sisters get back on their feet and have an even more amazing home than what we have and a more promising future for the next generations.
And for that change, Israel needs you, our family in America.
GILOR MESHULAM is the Israeli Shaliach (Emissary) for the Jewish Alliance.