Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “The Negev Summit: Israel as ‘A Light unto Nations’”
The role of Israel as a connecting force in the Middle East is not a coincidence; fostering unity has been the essence of the people of Israel since time immemorial. As part of an historical summit in the Israeli Negev town of Sde Boker, top diplomats from Israel, the US, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco have agreed to meet regularly to establish a permanent forum for the creation of “regional security architecture,” in light of the possible renewal of the Iranian nuclear deal.
The unprecedented forum is one of the results of the “Abraham Accords” which brought normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. While the new Middle Eastern regional front will also focus on joint efforts in the areas of counterterrorism and defense, education, health, tourism, food, water, and energy, the main concern for Israel and its Arab allies is Tehran’s threat.
The State of Israel must do everything in its power to protect its security, both by forming alliances and by striving for additional political meetings, and there is no doubt that a unified security front in the Middle East can deter Iran. On a more internal level, if the people of Israel demonstrate a unified spiritual front against any threat, this will sooner or later neutralize it. Cohesion is the ultimate power for the redemption of people from troubles and torments. As the sages said, “When Israel are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.”
And why exactly do we, the people of Israel, have the power to change complex and sticky situations? Because from our beginning about 3,800 years ago, we acquired from our ancestor Abraham in ancient Babylon a method of connection which taught us how to transcend the egoism that ruled us, how to rise above differences, and how to direct ourselves toward the supreme force of nature. Thus, “Israel” (from the Hebrew Yashar-El) means “straight” to “God,” and from its foundations, Israel has always been an ideological group aimed at being a unifying force in the world.
If we as the people of Israel were stronger on the inside in terms of cohesion, we would see significant results in all areas of life without the need for political agreements. However, as long as we are not united on the inner front–strongly connected in one heart–then there will be a vital need for our leaders to sign agreements on the political and security fronts.
Meanwhile, buds of the future role of Israel can also be seen forming on the physical level. Israel is revealing an extraordinary political feature of being at the center of every fateful conflict and threat–from the “Negev Summit” bringing the Middle East countries together over Iran, through the role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine, to the recent visits of the President of Israel to Turkey and the Israeli Army delegation to Morocco.
Israel is gradually gaining ground in taking up its rightful role as a connecting force between peoples. In the future it is also expected that Israel will formalize its physical and spiritual role to become a sort of international parliament and forum through which countries can communicate –a contemporary Sanhedrin reminiscent of the ancient assembly of sages in the Land of Israel. As the Jewish thinker Rav Kook said, “The purpose of Israel is to unite the whole world into one family.”
Countries all over the world will subconsciously continue to feel that Israel should function as the connecting factor between all nations and peoples, regardless of who leads the nation in turn. The world will continue to ask us to act as mediators. World demand will spur us to continue to perform the task entrusted to us since the days of our original agreement with Abraham, to truly become “A Light Unto Nations.”