The Sanhedrin has invited the Arab nations to take their place in a concert in Jerusalem celebrating the creation of the world. As improbable as it may seem that nations perceived as the arch-enemies of Israel will attend, the emissary chosen by the Sanhedrin to bear this message is so remarkable that she may be able to succeed where the world’s most prominent politicians have failed.
Noha Hassid, an Egyptian Muslim nuclear scientist, has been working to bring true peace to the region. Her most recent efforts in this area have her working as a liaison, extending an invitation from the nascent Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center for the Arabs to take their place among the nations at the World Creation Concert in Jerusalem.
Hassid is uniquely qualified for the position. She was born and raised in Cairo and though she was Muslim, she knew that somewhere in her family roots were Jews.
“We didn’t speak about it because in Egypt, ‘Jew’ is a bad word,” Hassid told Breaking Israel News.
As a young girl, she was sent to a private school in Saudi Arabia, where she learned Islamic religious studies at a prominent institution. She taught nuclear physics at both Beni-Suef and Cairo University while overseeing her own research laboratory.
While researching her masters thesis in 1999, she happened upon some Islamic sources, reading them out of curiosity. She was surprised to discover that these sources clearly stated that Jerusalem and Israel belonged to the Jews.
Coincidentally as part of her research, she contacted Yigal Shalom Horowitz, a physics professor at Ben-Gurion University. Professor Horowitz invited her to a conference on nuclear safety in Israel. As a result of that email exchange and her application for a visa to attend the conference, Hassid came under the scrutiny of the Egyptian security services.
Hassid was warned not to accept or initiate any contact with Israelis. A teen when Israel and Egypt had signed the Camp David agreement in 1979, her understanding was that Egypt and Israel were at peace, so, the animosity of the security services surprised her. Not the type of person to be intimidated, she began to research Israel and, more specifically, Jerusalem.
“I stumbled upon an article from the BBC, and under the headline ‘Jerusalem — God’s City,’ there was a quote from the Koran about the Temple and King Solomon,” Hassid said. “I reread the Koran, looking for these references and was shocked to discover that it says explicitly that the Land of Israel belongs to the ‘nation of Moses.’”
Her inquiries brought her to the attention of the security services again. She was informed that she would not be permitted to leave Egypt and she was barred from doing further research in the university library.
Upon completing her studies, she was invited to the JINR research institute in Russia to work with the Nobel group. She had a ticket and her visa was issued several times. But Egyptian state security forbade her from traveling out of “concern that she would travel to Israel.”
Without advance studies outside of Egypt, continuing in the field of nuclear science was pointless so Hassid continued her Ph.D. studies in the use of lasers for the purposes of preserving documents.
As a result of her personal religious studies and requests to leave the country, she was arrested in 2002. The arrest and incarceration though lasting less than a week were bloody and violent.
In the confusion of the political upheavals of Arab Spring at the end of 2010, Hassid managed to escape Egypt and travel to Jordan. She applied for a visa at the Israeli embassy in Amman and received a tourist visa as a guest of Esti Tirosh, an Israeli from Moshav Maslul in the Negev who had corresponded with Hassid for several years. Tirosh hosted Hassid in her home for three months as they tried to solidify her status in Israel where she applied for political asylum.
She established the Noha Hassid Center for Middle East Peace to promote public diplomacy in conjunction with Middle East experts Professor Rafi Israeli and Dr. Mordechai Kedar. Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin is also involved with the project, whose motto is, “Peace is a culture, not an agreement.”
It is this motto that led the Sanhedrin to turn to Hassid to reach out to the Arab world. The creation concert being held in Jerusalem next week is intended to bring together the nations to praise the One God.
“The world is facing several existential threats,” Rabbi Weiss explained to Breaking Israel News. “Politics is not the answer. This event transcends religion, which can be divisive. But we believe that if we appeal to the nations as part of the 70 Biblical nations, inviting them to take part in a celebration of the creation of the world, in Jerusalem, the city that is universally accepted as holy, then this will have the best chance of bringing a solution.”
The Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center are organizing the World Creation Concert due to be held on September 3 at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center and the Hulda gates adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem. This falls one day before the 25th of the Hebrew month of Elul, the 5778th anniversary of the creation of the world according to Jewish tradition.
The Sanhedrin formulated an invitation and Hassid translated it into Arabic. Invitations were sent to leaders in the Arab world and a special one translated into Farsi was passed on to Persia. Hassid sent it to friends and influential people she thought might be receptive to the idea, asking them to pass it along.
“If you want a comprehensive solution, you can’t drop or neglect any of its sides, especially the foundational ones,” Hassid said.
She also posted the Arabic language invitation from the Sanhedrin to her organization’s Facebook page. It is encouraging to note that not one of the many responses was negative. Hassid’s special message may be taking root, allowing the Arabs to take their place among the nations.