To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,
One of the most basic and historically significant values of Judaism is "All of Israel are responsible one for the other", a principle that assumes a shared destiny and mutual reliance, which are the basis of relations in a collective. Much of the impressive survivability of Jewish individuals and Jewish communities stems from this rule. If a Jew can go anywhere in the world, find the local Jewish community and be welcomed there, receive help and immediately participate in its rituals and community life, there is no doubt that this mutual guarantee works.
For me, as a queer lesbian, this ability to go anywhere in the world, find the local community and immediately feel some sense of belonging, is very familiar. Identifying as a Jew, and identifying as a sexual and gender minority, creates beautiful worlds that are not necessarily familiar to those who belong to the majority. Just as historically this Jewish superpower of mutual guarantee got twisted into conspiracy theories about the global power of the Jews, LGBTQAI communities around the world are being attributed to have enormous global power to change the "natural order". These fantasies, of course, have nothing to do with the daily life of the minority. The strength of the sexual, gender, and religious minority lies in the definite knowledge that community is valuable, and that the network of connections that bind us to each other often give meaning to our lives, provide support and inner strength, and celebrate who we are, whether as Jews or as LGBTQAIs.
However, the State of Israel is not a Jewish collective. It is a modern country where Jews and members of other religions live together. The unifying force in the country cannot be based only on "all of Israel are responsible one for the other", first of all because this beautiful sentence itself excludes women (in Hebrew) and can even be harmful if interpreted as referring only to the shared destiny of Jews, in the Israeli context.
Because of this, I propose we use the value of solidarity. Solidarity results from choice and is not based only on similarities or on belonging to the same community. In Israel, we need solidarity everywhere: standing in line at the supermarket, on the roads, in the schools, and on the streets. Solidarity transcends communities and identifications. It is similar to the way Rabbi Ben Azzai adds to Rabbi Akiva's statement: "love your neighbor as yourself" the statement of: "this is a book of human history".
I wish us all solidarity that will stem from love for ourselves and grow into love for others.
Rabbi Efrat Rotem is a Reform Rabbi. She lives in Hod Hasharon, with her wife Ofira and their daughter Amalia. She leads “Sde Hair” – a place for Judaism and sustainability in Hod Hasharon. She holds an MA in literature, and is a writer, editor, and translator.