The most important mission of the Menorah Islands Project is to unite people from all backgrounds, nationalities and religions to be a part of something greater than themselves. We firmly believe that the everyday people affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict yearn for peace — and that the only way to do so is to create places and platforms for these people to meet, get to know each other as fellow humans and learn to work together for the greater good.
Important work is being conducted separately behind political barriers around the world. At universities, laboratories and institutions, scientists work tirelessly to unlock the secrets of the universe, discover cures for cancer and other debilitating diseases, make new discoveries about how our ancestors lived – all while their governments are at war. Imagine the possibilities if people separated by conflict could collaborate, share and expound upon each other’s findings despite these barriers!
A great example of this noble goal can be found in the International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME). In May 2017, Jordan’s King Abdullah II formally opened an international research center so scientists and experts from around the world could work together, share research and compare notes in areas such as biology, archaeology and medical sciences. This UNESCO-backed facility has already received 55 scientific research project proposals from scientists throughout the Middle East.
Despite political challenges and a lack of diplomatic relations between certain countries, representatives from more than a dozen countries come to work at this one-of-a-kind facility, Iranian and Israeli, Turkish and Cypriot. Building these bridges ensures that SESAME can fulfill its mission to “build scientific and cultural bridges between diverse societies, and contribute to a culture of peace through international cooperation in science.”
And we couldn’t be more supportive of this inspiring mission!
On the Menorah Islands, our dream is to create a space for collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians, two groups who are infamously embroiled in a bitter, drawn-out conflict. Even as controversy and challenges swirl around these two peoples, individuals are still going about their daily business – scientists among them. Palestinians and Israelis alike are making breakthroughs at universities and laboratories on both sides of the divide – it’s a shame that there are few opportunities for these men and women to make important connections across the political divide and work together freely for the sake of our future.
Research conducted on the Menorah Islands won’t be limited to one discipline. Our idea would support every scientific discipline imaginable. Our central towers would be a space for universities to hold classes and deliver lectures. The public square at the center of each island would be a meeting space for any and all who wish to expand their knowledge base. Even our submersible islands are a unique asset in our concept, since they could provide a direct window into undersea life for marine biologists, climate scientists and others who wish to observe animals and plants in their natural habitat. Quite literally, every place on the Menorah Islands would be a place for scientists to collaborate.
SESAME isn’t just a model for the future of science – it only proves that a long-lasting Middle East peace is possible through scientific collaboration!