A spectacular photo of Israel and the Middle East, taken from the Space Station and released by NASA on Wednesday, prove what much of the world already knows: Israel is quite literally a light unto the nations.
The photo, showing Northern Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and the whole of Israel, as well as other neighboring countries, provide a stark contrast between Israel’s tiny yet brightly glowing crescent and the large swathes of dark, empty land surrounding it on all sides.
The northern tip of Egypt is visible, with a network of lit and developed areas branching out from the massive glow of Cairo, though the rest of the country is noticeably dark. The vast but empty Sinai Peninsula boasts only a few pockets of light on the coasts, marking the Suez Canal and the Egyptian towns of El Tor, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Dahab.
The point of light on the eastern coast of the Sinai where it meets Jordan shows Eilat, an Israeli resort town at the country’s southernmost tip.
Israel itself, a fraction of the size of its Middle Eastern neighbors, is a brightly lit from the bottom of the Negev to its northern point. The lights of Jerusalem to the east are easily visible, and the coast is illuminated from north to south, with Tel Aviv and Haifa marking two of Israel’s largest population centers. A network of glowing towns, roads, cities and villages spreads throughout the entire country; even the barren Negev is dotted with small points of light.
Surrounding Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are noticeably dark, with proportionally fewer signs of life.
Israel, though very small and very young, is known for its innovative technology and the “start up” culture that has made it one of the most important high-tech centers in the world. Its Middle Eastern neighbors, however, generally less prosperous and with lower standards of living, are noticeably absent from the world stage when it comes to technological and agricultural advances.
This latest image illuminates a principle first spoken by God and brought to life in modern times. Israel’s fate, spiritually, intellectually and literally, is to shine a divine light unto the nations of the world.