"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did as they saw fit "
In these difficult words, the Bible describes a reality in which each of the tribes of Israel lived for themselves, cared for themselves and defended themselves.
It is not the case that there were no leaders; but none of them were able to rise above their tribal interests of their immediate family and consider the need of the whole nation - on both sides of the river.
During these weeks, in synagogues all over the world, in Jerusalem and Berkeley, in Paris and Caesarea, we read the passages that tell of our ancestor Jacob. This is the same Jacob that we are all called by his second name - Israel. We are neither the children of Abraham nor the children of Isaac. We are the children of Israel. Because Abraham and Isaac had other children. Children that left their home and established other nations. Children that have become bitter rivals.
However, Jacob, Israel - is the first that succeeded to keep allof his sons at home: including Judah the national leader and Joseph the prince of exile. Including Ephraim and Menashe who were born in Egypt and also Reuben and Shimon who were born in the Promised Land. Our father Jacob did not give up on anyone. They were all his sons. Thus, he managed to start one family. This family is us.
Before we received the Torah, before the acceptance of the mitzvot, before the conquest of the land - we were the children of Israel. Family. And family, as taught by the book of Genesis, is not necessarily harmonious and certainly does not agree on everything. families are complicated. Throughout Jewish history this will continue to be the main challenge of the Jewish people. The tension between the desire to keep the family together and between the different directions that family members believe and perceive. This is true in our private family, and in our national family.
And like Jacob - we must not give up any child. Ever.
Truth must be told. We, Israelis, have a lot to fix in this matter. Our history studies of Zionism are learned through the Holocaust, a topic which deals a lot with dead Jews, and teach us almost nothing about the living Jews. We have no idea how the glorious Jewish center in the United States was created where nearly half of the world's Jews currently live. We have no idea what characterizes the huge community in Argentina, and what bothers the Jews of Hungary.
On this platform, I want to address my brothers and sisters, members of the Jewish people who do not live in Israel.
Too many times in recent years you have received the message from here, from this home, as if we have given up on you. Too many times you have heard harsh words about the non-Orthodox sects, to which many of you belong. Too many times you have heard that someone who is not Orthodox will assimilate and disappear anyways, and therefor there is no point in considering their opinion.
On this day I want to tell you, my family members in all the Diaspora of Israel - I will not give up on you. We will not give up on you. Despite what you may hear from a narrow sector of opinions, despite what we hear from yours - there are many men and women, in this home and in the entire State of Israel, that you are perceived as their brothers and sisters. unconditionally. With no requirements.
There are many men and women, in this house and in the entire State of Israel, that do not perceive you narrowly as "with us or against us." You are not examined through your lifestyle regardless if they agree with it or not. Especially when they disagree with it.
There are very many men and women that know with all their hearts that we are brothers. One nation ("Am Echad").
One nation in the first years, when the State of Israel was the project of the Jewish people.
One nation also now, when the Jewish people should be the project of the State of Israel.
One of the first bill proposals that I promoted in this house deals with the duty to hear your position when we make decisions that have a direct impact on you. It requires us to stop talking about you and start talking with you.
We are responsible for one another and must learn to communicate with each other.
This state that seeks to be a national home for the Jewish people- is also yours.
We are family.