We need to change this divide in Israel with love

By Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, January 5, 2012
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"If the Nazis searched out every Jew in hate, we will search out every Jew in love."

These were the recent words of our Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, during a summary of what he learned from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory.

These words came to mind when, like the rest of the world, I was appalled to see the deplorable actions and imagery used by a very small number of reprehensible individuals in Israel, who must not be seen as representing dedicatedly observant Jews - who can be defined as those who hold dear Judaism's most basic tenet: "Love your fellow as yourself".

These events are the most recent expression of a deep malaise in Israeli society. The divisiveness currently ongoing between brothers and sisters in Israel is intensely disheartening to Jews worldwide.

I believe that, to combat such negativity, we need to respond with an extra dose of positivity. It is incumbent on each one of us to demonstrate between ourselves, and to the world, that differences of culture and levels of Jewish observance should not, and will not, affect the unity of our Jewish people.

We are all created in God's image. We need no other reason to love another Jew or indeed another human being.

In fact, compromising our love for another is, by extension, compromising our love for God.

Rather than focusing on those issues that divide us as a people, let us celebrate and focus on what we have in common.

To paraphrase Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi: If you want to inspire another person, do so with love, and if you can't inspire them, love them even more.

Rabbi Sudak is chief executive of Chabad Lubavitch UK

Last updated: 3:30pm, January 9 2012