Schneider Aviel

Brotherly Hatred: “More Dangerous Than Jesus!”

Rabbis warn that fraternal hatred, which is so common in our day, is the greatest threat to the Jewish nation

Smotrich and Bennett in better days. Photo: Flash90

There is nothing worse among the people of Israel than brotherly hatred. And this problem continues to plague the nation. “Anyone who cooperates with the current governing coalition should not be allowed in the synagogues for prayers,” insisted right-wing opposition lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich a few days before the biblical feast of Passover. Many people from across the political spectrum quickly distanced themselves from this statement.

“That’s exactly why our nation was destroyed 2,000 years ago,” responded Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “How is it possible that a Jew boycotts another Jew in the synagogue?” he added. “It’s always nice to say we all love each other, but then we refuse to sit together. We all love each other, but this Jew can’t go to the synagogue. What is happening to our people?”

Numerous rabbis warn that fraternal hatred is and has long been the greatest enemy of the Jewish people. On social media, rabbis have assured that every Jew is welcome in their synagogues, regardless of political affiliation. “Prayer comes before politics,” one rabbi wrote.

Meanwhile, Orthodox Jewish lawmaker Moshe Gafni reminded Smotrich that he himself is partly responsible for the formation of the “evil government coalition.” When Benjamin Netanyahu tried to form a coalition after the last election, it was Smotrich who prevented this by insisting on a fully right-wing religious coalition that excluded Mansour Abbas’ Islamist party Ra’am. Since such a coalition proved impossible, Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid seized the opportunity and formed a coalition with Abbas themselves. As a result, hatred of Bennett and members of his right-wing party Yamina escalated.

True, Israel’s right-wing and religious electorate sees Prime Minister Bennett as a political crook who stole the government and formed a coalition with the Left and an Arab party. In their eyes it is an evil and dangerous government. And for this reason Smotrich demanded that members of Bennett’s party should not have a place in the synagogues for the holidays. Faced with a fierce backlash, Smotrich has since tried to explain that he didn’t really mean it.

How often have Reform Jews and Messianic Jews been told they are not welcome in synagogues! And why? Because they hold different notions about ​​God and faith. The excuses for this exclusion are many. Reform Jews are too liberal for the religious synagogues, and in the case of Messianic Jews, Jesus is the obstacle. But is Jesus really more of an obstacle to the Jewish people than they are to themselves? It’s not just because of Jesus that certain Jews are unwanted in synagogues. Many more are cast out because of liberal attitudes, political leanings, and dozens of other reasons.

For this reason it is wrong to paint Messianic Jews as uniquely persecuted because they believe in Jesus. In fact, in recent years I’ve come to know quite a few Messianic families who have joined traditional synagogues and told the rabbi of their faith in Jesus, and they were not thrown out because of it.

This is exactly what Jesus preached to his people, to love one’s neighbor. Because the spiritual tension we feel today within Jewish society can tear this nation apart. Hate is like a poison that destroys people from within. Hatred produces bitterness that eats into our hearts and minds. The New Testament warns against allowing bitterness to take root in our hearts (Hebrews 12:15). More and more every day we see why this warning was necessary. Hatred towards one’s neighbor grows over the smallest differences in opinion. And this brotherly hatred is a far greater threat to the nation of Israel than Jesus.

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