Atlantic Ocean to Mediterranean Sea to Arabian Gulf USA to Morocco to Israel to UAE to Bahrain
Artist Mel Alexenberg Launches Cyberangels from Rembrandt's Studio in Holland to Abraham Accords Museums in USA, Morocco, Israel, UAE, and Bahrain
Dressed in period garb. I launched Rembrandt inspired cyberangels from the great master’s studio in Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
It was a wakeup call to my cyberangels that were asleep in the Smithsonian’s flat file for three decades to begin the first leg of their virtual flight to convey a message of peace to USA on the Atlantic Ocean to Morocco and Israel on the Mediterranean Sea to UAE and Bahrain on the Arabian Gulf.
On the White House Lawn
My wife Miriam and I witnessed a historic event of biblical proportions heralding the emergence of a different spirit for shaping a new era. We watched from our home in Israel the signing of The Abraham Accords on the South Lawn of the White House on September 15, 2020.
If we were at the National Museum in Washington to see my Digitized Homage to Rembrandt lithograph of cyberangels in the museum collection, we would only have to walk a short distance to watch representatives of the three Abrahamic religions launching a new epoch of peace in the Middle East.
The Abraham Accords were being signed by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jewish prime minister of Israel, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the Muslim foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and Donald Trump, Christian president of the United States of America.
The Bible tells of Abraham’s contentment that his sons Ishmael and Isaac came together to be with him at the end of his life. Now, four thousand years later, their heirs came together in brotherhood at the White House. The names of Abraham’s sons, Ishmael and Isaac, are English versions of their original Hebrew names. Ishmael is Yishmael meaning “God will hear” and Isaac is Yitzhak meaning “will laugh." Linking Yishmael and Yitzhak can be read as: “When God will hear that Abraham’s sons have reunited, He will laugh in joy!”
My Moroccan Family
At the same time that Miriam and I were watching the signing the Abraham Accords, we heard sirens announcing that rockets were being fired into Israel by the Arab terrorists who rule Gaza. Our daughter Iyrit phoned us to tell us that a rocket had struck the Israeli city of Ashdod sending her wounded neighbors to the hospital.
Iyrit’s husband Dr. Yehiel Lasrey is the mayor of Ashdod who was born in Morocco and moved to Israel with his family when he was six. He grew up in Ashdod, a small town on the sea that has grown into one of Israel’s largest cities and its major port. Yahiel studied medicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and went from being surgeon-general of Israel’s navy to specialist in internal medicine at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, a member of Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and a founder of the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra – Ashdod.
The orchestra performed in Morocco in March 2022 in collaboration with the Moroccan Association of Andalusian Music. It was the orchestra’s first performance in Morocco since the resumption of diplomatic relations between the countries in December 2020. A moving moment occurred at the outset of the evening with the playing of the Israeli and Moroccan national anthems.
Ascending to Israel
Ascending from the Land of Israel applies to angels. “A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as angels were ascending.” (Genesis 28:12) In Jerusalem where Joseph dreamed of angels going up the ladder, I created a serigraph “Angels Ascending from the Land of Israel” showing Rembrandt inspired cyberangels ascending from a satellite image of Israel. It is in the collection of the Israel Museum.
Ascending to Israel applies to the Jewish people returning home to Israel after 2,000 years of exile. “I bore you on the wings of eagles and brought you to me.” (Exodus 19:4) “Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 43:6)
When my wife Miriam and I and our children Iyrit, Ari and Ron flew from New York to live in Israel in 1969, we were called olim (ascenders) coming on aliyah (ascending). The eagles that flew us and millions of Jews from the ends of the earth to live in our ancestral homeland had jet engines on their El Al Airlines wings. Our son Moshe was born in Israel as were our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“From generation to generation, they will dwell in the Land of Israel where the wilderness will rejoice over them, the desert will be glad and blossom like a lily. Her wilderness will be made like Eden, and her desert like a Divine garden. Joy and gladness will be found there, Thanksgiving and the sound of music.” (Isaiah 35:1, 51:3)
Rembrandt in United Arab Emirates
My Rembrandt inspired cyberangels’ flight from Rembrandt’s studio to USA on the Ocean, Morocco and Israel on the Sea, to Louvre Abu Dhabi art museum in UAE on the Gulf. A cyberangel of peace ascending from the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book, where the oldest Bible texts are housed, makes a virtual flight into the Abu Dhabi museum.
In the permanent collection of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is a gemlike Rembrandt painting “Abraham and the Angels” that was purchased for the museum at Sotheby’s in Dubai. It shows winged angels sitting with Abraham while his wife Sarah watches.
The historic Abraham Accords that forges ties between Israel and UAE occurred during the year that Rembrandt was being honored on the 350th anniversary of his death by museums throughout the world. Louvre Abu Dhabi presented the exhibition Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age, masterpieces from the collection of the American Thomas S. Kaplan whose wife Dafna in the daughter of Israeli artist Mira Recanati.
Dr. Kaplan writes “More than any other painter’s legacy, we believe Rembrandt’s ability to touch the soul represents a uniquely fitting expression of this visionary Franco-Emirati project seeking to promote tolerance and the common civilization of mankind.”
Roots of Abraham Accords in Bahrain
Bahrain’s leadership set the stage for the Abraham Accords decades ago. Crown Prince Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa at his meeting with Israel’s foreign minister Silvan Shalom in 2003 expressed his pride over Bahrain’s Jewish community and described it as an example for peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews.
Hounda Nonoo from a Jewish family that has lived in Bahrain for more than a century served as a member of parliament and as ambassador of Bahrain to the United States from 2008 to 2013.
In December 2022, President of Israel Isaac Herzog on his first visit to Bahrain to meet with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “Our budding relationship is in many ways a reunion. Jews and Muslims are not strangers but family, sharing a common ancestor, Abraham, after whom our historic accords are named.”
Bahrain is shaping the future by building a Museum of Contemporary Art that will fly up like an angel of peace to hover over the Gulf waters. The internationally renowned architect, the late Zaha Hadid, created designs for the museum which protrudes from a narrow alleyway in Muharraq and gently curves in an overhang above the water in the direction of Manama. The museum’s interior reflects the folds and outcrops of the building’s wavy exterior.
May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.