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I MISS DAVID

This week, Jews all over the world will gather with their families to retell the ancient story of the exodus from Egypt. There are many different traditions, but one common to most communities is the open door for unexpected guests. This year, as I sit with my family at the Seder table in Israel, I will watch the open doorway and hope that David will come in. No - not David my cousin, but the one we all know from the story of David and Goliath.

Throughout the existence of the State of Israel, the story of David and Goliath has been a source of inspiration for Israel’s code of behavior. Huge Goliath, equipped with a massive arsenal, confronted little David, armed only with only a slingshot and a few pebbles. David’s great strength lay in his creative thinking, his innovation and improvisation. It was these elements that guided the State of Israel from the War of Independence on. It seems now, however, that with the passing of time, we have transformed ourselves into a “Goliath” - hostages to the lure of cutting-edge technology, high rhetoric, plasma screens, and the rest of the toyshop.

We have adopted the persona of Goliath - and his way of thinking. Reliance on advanced technology has caused us to stop thinking, to stop being creative, and to stop being “David”. We have thus reached the state where, in order to counter a Kassam rocket, home-made in small Gazan workshops at the cost of a few dollars, we erect sophisticated laser equipment at a cost of millions of dollars.

The search for solutions is being carried out at the highest levels, while basic and inventive reasoning is brushed aside. The Second Lebanon War was a prime example of the degree to which we have transformed ourselves into a “Goliath”. Confident of our technological superiority, we discarded the basic principles, and then found ourselves fighting an enemy that had adopted David’s mode of operation. Simplicity and resourcefulness overcame high technology.

Indeed, technology has brought great advances for humanity. Technology has led us to impressive achievements in the fields of medicine and science. Yet, despite this, the design of a doctor’s scalpel has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years, since the important factor is the hand wielding the scalpel, and not the scalpel itself.

Israel’s political system has also lost its “David”. The corruption of absolute power, as embodied in certain politicians and people in high places, has swallowed up modesty and the ability to get things done properly. Success is now measured by media rating rather than actual results. Israel’s political apparatus has become a commodity, where the packaging is more important than the content.

Lately, since the Second Lebanon War, and after all the corruption and scandals that recently have flooded Israel’s political scene, now - more than ever - I miss the “David” that was once Israel: wisdom; common sense; creative thinking; the simple equation: right or wrong; merit according to achievements and not media rating; words with meaning rather than high and empty rhetoric.

So, on this special evening, when everyone is sitting around the Seder table reading the Haggadah, and asking why this night is different from other nights, let’s hope that we will also recall the story of David and Goliath, and let’s hope that Israel will become “David” again.

Chag Sameach.