On the first night of Shavuot I participated in a Tikkun Leil program organised by the local Zionist council. The program consisted of different discussion groups chaired by different Madrichim (counsellors/leaders) of the local Zionist youth groups. The entire spectrum of Judaism and Zionism was represented from Reform youth groups to Betar.
I attended a discussion on the existence of settlements in Judea and Samaria and whether or not they impede on Israel’s democratic nature. I believe that after this discussion, I discovered the reason why there is no peace in the Middle East.
Neither the Left Wingers nor the Right Wingers had any respect for each other. It was not an open environment where people legitimately wanted to hear the other side’s opinions and take them into consideration. Rather, both sides were hostile to each other and unwilling to consider the other’s opinions. Each person who spoke was mocked by the opposing side and nothing productive came of the session.
Such discussions on a simple level, like the one I attended and on a larger, more serious, political level will be unproductive and fruitless unless both sides respect each other, respect each other’s opinions and create an environment where genuine debate is appreciated.
So, what’s the moral of the story?
You know your opinion.
I know mine.
We both need open minds and a respect for one another to actually engage in academic discussion. If this ever happens in the Tumblr community…I’ll be really pleased.
Maybe, if we can do it, we can actually make an impact!