The Creator placed all the idol worshipping nations in the world under appointed ministers, and they all follow their gods. All shed blood and make war, steal, commit adultery, mingle among all who act to harm, and always increase their strength to harm.
Israel do not have the strength and might to defeat them, except with their mouths, with prayer, like a worm, whose only strength and might is in its mouth. But with the mouth, it breaks everything, and this is why Israel are called “a worm.”
“Fear not, you worm of Jacob.” No other creature in the world is like that silk-weaving worm, from which all the garments of honor come, the attire of kings. And after weaving, she seeds and dies. Afterwards, from that very seed, she is revived as before and lives again. Such are Israel. Like that worm, even when they die, they come back and live in the world as before.
It is also said, “as clay in the hands of the potter, so you, the house of Israel, are in My hands.” The material is that glass; even though it breaks, it is corrected and can be corrected as before. Such are Israel: even though they die, they relive.
Israel is the tree of life, ZA. And because the children of Israel clung to the tree of life, they will have life, and they will rise from the dust and exist in the world.
Zohar for All, VaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Items 250-254
The point in the heart, the inner predilection that can awaken within each person, wherever he is, to reach directly to the quality of love and giving of the Creator, this is called Israel, Yashar [straight] El[God]. The rest of our self-centered inclinations are called “the nations of the world.”
On the way to the Creator, the point in the heart traverses many different states until it is finally rewarded with clinging to the “tree of life.”