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Morris Kahn, the philanthropist who sponsored the Beresheet spacecraft, and Kfir Damari, one of three initiators of the project, will jointly light a torch at the 71st Independence day ceremony in May, Culture Minister Miri Regev announced Monday.
Regev who heads the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols, confirmed the recommendation made by a public committee that specifically chooses the torch lighters. The committee reasoned that SpaceIL, the private company that developed and operated Beresheet, has been active for eight years in advancing the scientific and technological education in Israel and pushing innovation to new heights.
On Thursday, Beresheet narrowly failed at landing safely on the moon after a 49-day journey from earth and successfully passing many complex maneuvers on the way. Just moments before the landing, the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries’ scientists lost contact with the spacecraft, which then crash landed on the moon’s surface.
While Israel didn’t become the fourth country to land on the moon, it did make it into an exclusive club of seven that achieved a moon orbit.
Millions closely followed Beresheet over the course of it’s mission and initial disappointment at the unsuccessful landing quickly made way for national pride of SpaceIL’s achievement.
Kahn has already announced his intention to fund Beresheet 2.0, promising that Israel will make it to the moon.
Regev said of the choice that “Morris Kahn and Kfir Damari belong to a group of dreamers that merit to fulfill their visions. The Beresheet initiative, which started as a far off dream, soared through the skies and came into touching distance of the moon.”
Regev further praised Kahn and Damari’s creativity, bravery and endurance and said that she is sure that Israel will soon make it to the moon.
“Beresheet was a huge step on Israel’s path, a small country with big dreams, which will be realized on the moon.”
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