Can't we all just get along?
Among the more regular commenters on this blog is H or Haim, who believe it or not, is actually a friend of mine, in spite of, or perhaps because of our very different religious & political beliefs as they relate to the Jewish People and the State of Israel.
I have known Haim for the better part of the 3 years that I have lived in Israel, and in that time I have come to find his views to be as far to left as my views are to the right. At the same time, what sets Haim apart from others whose viewpoints I disagree with is that he has the ability, generally speaking, to articulate in a very clear and convincing manner the reasoning behind his beliefs and ideology, and to allow someone like myself, who more often than not, disagrees with what he is saying, to at least appreciate why it is that he believes what he does.
On many occasions I have told Haim that if not for the fact that I am an observant, G-d fearing (I try to be...) Jew, who believes in the divinity of the Written and Oral Law (among other things), that I would agree with everything he says. However, being that I am all of the above things, we agree on very little, aside from the fact that the Jewish People belong in Israel (albeit, for somewhat different reasons).
Here is an example of a recent comment of Haim's on this post that highlights the opposite sides of the spectrum that we are coming from:
I do want the dismantling of all settlements over the Green line, I do believe that they (you) harm Israel's security and prevent peace. I do believe that the settlements are destroying the economy of Israel and depriving the citizens of the state who are willing to live within our borders the right to freedom, peace, security and prosperity...
Or, his comment to this post:
...For me the Jewish people who make up the Jewish people are central, for you G-d is central, which is actually the same G-d as for Muslims and Christians, so don't you have more in common with them than you do with the Jewish People? Your desire to deride the belief in Jewish peoplehood unless it is linked to an irrational belief in G-d and your rabbi, is what makes the messianist settler movement a separatist movement from Zionism and verges on taking them away from the Jewish People altogether.
Haim and I try to meet for lunch once a month (give or take) just to catch up, and talk about the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. Over the course of these meetings, I have come to a rather troubling conclusion, namely, that while our relationship is a very special one, one which I greatly value, I recognize that at the end of the day, we are working to achieve mutually exclusive goals.
What hope is there for the Jewish unity when I view many of Haim's ideological beliefs to be damaging to the Jewish People, Jewish State and Judaism on the whole, while he feels the same way about my beliefs, and would love for nothing more than to be able to put an end to Judaism, as I understand it?
How is it that Haim and I are able to be friends while at the same time being aware that the things for which we are striving and have devoted much of our personal and professional lives towards carry such grave consequences in respect to the other's very way of life?
Why is it that, in spite of all these things, I am still looking forward to my next lunch meeting with Haim?