As we gathered in our synagogue for the evening services of Maariv at the end of Shabbat, the spirit of our congregation was in deep prayer -just as it was going to be minutes later, during our blessings for the new week.
“Oh House of Jacob --come let us go by the light of Hashem.
The stability of your times,
fear of G-d --that is one’s treasure.
And David was successful in all his ways,
and Hashem was with him.”
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While we did not mention it, it was in all of our minds. Thankfully, our Rabbi, the spiritual guide at the helm of our congregation, solemnly said: “As we begin this most challenging week...”
Yes, indeed, this is probably the most challenging week for the Jewish people and Israel in the last few years.
As the majority of the world seems to be heading towards darkness, no one can ever deny the pages of History that show incontestably the wonderful yet the painful road of the Jewish people and their incredible survival and success beyond any and all challenges.
Looking back in History, we find them in Spain, where they emblazoned Spanish life in every possible way, until the King and Queen of Spain gave in to pressure and authorized the expulsion of their trusted friends and confidants, the Jews.
Little did the Sovereigns know that by signing the expulsion of the Jews, they were simultaneously signing the end of progress of their culture and they were ending the advancement of their science, economy and so much more.
Spain, without the Jews, was never again to be the same. And, such examples abound throughout History. Wherever the Jews lived, life prospered and blossomed...
As recent as last century, the Holocaust took them to the Promised Land of their ancestors, where they witnessed and were part of a miracle. Within barely a few years since their return, the Promised Land went from a desert to a magnificent and prosperous garden of vineyards and thick, green, powerful forests and the country was filled with scented flowers with their eternal colors that have survived despite millennia of absence.
Back in their Homeland, Israel’s path has been filled with life and love, with expansion in every possible way -and with war after war waged against them, and in between, the clear and present danger of active, irrational hate inoculated to adults and their own children and that has been translated in concrete attacks of terrorism and devastation -courtesy of the Muslim Palestinian world and the Muslim world at large.
We will never repeat it enough. beastly and cowardly acts of terror against unsuspecting, defenseless, innocent civilians, cowardly attacked, either by terorists or by suicide-homicide bombers, are simply unacceptable in the Civilized world. There is and can be no excuse for that.
Ten years statistics between 2000 and 2010, show that Israel has had 1,200 victims of terror attacks -which demographically would be proportionally equivalent to 50,297 Americans.
During that same period, there have been 8,342 Israelis wounded from terror attacks -again, demographically proportionally equivalent to 350,000 wounded in America.
Meanwhile, against all reasonable analysis, the Obama Administration in a turnaround during the removal of our old ally, President Mubarak of Egypt, insisted in seeing the Tahrir Square revolt as a sign of the “Arab Spring” -the dawn of a new era, so to say.
In reality, however, it has been the daily display of the darkest side of the Muslim world -with America finding her newest allies in Libyan ‘rebels’ directly imported from the ranks of America’s archenemy, Al Qaeda. And an unmistakable, ever rampant increase of the different faces and intensities of violence and terror, from Yemen, to Bahrain, from Turkey to Iran, passing by Syria and Libya, and so on.
However, in these times of distress and while menacing sabre-rattling makes noise around tiny Israel, something amazing has happened.
In a miraculous and timely move, help is coming to Israel and her intelligentsia, from the most unexpected source, one of the most intellectually prestigious places on Earth, naturally, little known by the general public.
To me, it is a very well known place, as it was not far from my home in Geneva, before moving to the United States.
The acronym CERN originally stood in French for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research.) Now renamed the European Organization for Nuclear Research, it has kept the same acronym: CERN.
The CERN Laboratory, founded in 1954, was established alongside the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now counts 20 Member States.
CERN is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research in the world, focusing fundamentally on physics. They are particularly busy finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works.
However, the CERN, among its many activities, is also very well known for their pioneer presence in the introduction of Internet technology in the 1980s, and for the impressive development of one of the most life-changing elements in the History of mankind: the World Wide Web.
Since 1991, Israel has a long-standing relationship with CERN and has been part of the Observer States and Organizations alongside the United States, Russia, India and Japan -and was granted special observer status in 2009.
Israel had to wait almost two years to receive the final, official invitation. Appears the decision may have been determined in large part thanks to Israel’s high level of theoretical and practical know-how, comparatively and massively greater than Israel’s actual size which may have been key for the CERN’s decision, and is responsible for Israel’s path towards recognition as an official member.
Thus, two years later, last Friday, September 16, 2011, CERN and Israel signed a document by which Israel was granted Associate Membership -to be ratified by the Knesset. That historic document was co-signed by CERN Director General Rolf Heuer and Israeli Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, H.E. Mr. Aharon Leshno-Yaar.
Following ratification by the Knesset, Israel will become an Associate Member of the CERN for at least 24 months, after which period, an ad hoc Council will decide on the admission of Israel to full Membership, taking into account the recommendations of a specialized task force to be appointed for this purpose.
CERN Director General, renowned German physicist, Rolf Heuer, had welcoming words for the new Associate Member: “It is a vital part of our mission to build bridges between nations. This agreement enriches us scientifically, and is an important step in that direction. I am very pleased that CERN’s relationship with Israel is moving to a higher level.”
Professor Eliezer Rabinovici, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Israel’s scientific observer to the Council, said: “I am very happy with this decision, I view it as recognition of the Israeli contributions, both scientific and technological to CERN over the years. The Israeli scientific community is looking forward to the continuation of this joint adventure.”
Back in September 2008, Israelis were among 50 scientists in the control room of the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider project located under the Swiss-French border. Considered the world’s largest experiment, the humongous particle accelerator’s historic launch was a collaboration of some of the world’s top scientists. And, although professors from Israeli universities were present at the launch and a few dozen other Israelis helped prepare for it, the country was not then an official member.
Now, at a time when the majority of the world is busy trying to isolate and ostracize Israel, the CERN, one of the leading 21st century scientific institutions in the world, warmly welcomes Israel in their midst.
The real friend walks in as the whole world walks out...