President Rivlin shares Beresheet disappointment

April 12, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Rivlin consoled dozens of young people, passionate about science and space at an event to witness the attempted landing by the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon.

Photo: Mark Neiman

President Rivlin told them: “We are full of admiration for the wonderful people who brought the spacecraft to the moon. True, not as we had hoped, but we will succeed in the end. This is a great achievement that we have not yet completed.”

‘Beresheet’ is the first Israeli spacecraft and is the product of eight years’ work by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.

The president said, “Yes, we are disappointed, but there is no doubt that our achievements and abilities – of our scientists and our country – are wonderful. To get a spacecraft to the moon requires huge resources, and with our few resources got ‘Beresheet’ nearly to the moon. When we put our minds to it, we succeed. True, sometimes there are disappointments, but they are nothing compared to the achievements of this evening.

That is why I am so happy to be here with you tonight as president with so many young people. When we were children your age, we never even dreamed we would go to the moon. I hope that you will be the scientists who get to the moon and achieve even greater things. This is an important evening of the State of Israel and for Israeli citizens and children who can see what we can do when we want and try – so long as we work together.”

Before leaving, the children and the president sang the national anthem and went home a little disappointed, but mostly tired.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah were at the control centre. He said: “We had great pride and great tragedy when the late Ilan Ramon perished in space. Today we are proud and happy beyond measure. An Israeli spacecraft, Beresheet, is about to reach the moon and I hope that it will land successfully. Already now it is possible to say that this is another great step for humanity and a giant step for Israel.

Israel is the fourth country in history after three major powers to carry this out. The other countries are far larger than us, even 100x, but what is tremendous and inexhaustible with us is daring, initiative, persistence and sticking to the mission. These are what have enabled us to achieve what we have achieved here in 70 years. From ashes, we have reached to the moon.

This attests to our tremendous achievements and points to the great achievements that are yet to come. It also points to all of the young people who have been involved in this project here behind me and also to the Israeli children. It is possible to achieve things without limit if you only want to. Herzl said ‘If you will it, it is no legend.’ You willed it and became legendary. Somebody else once said ‘We are on the map.’ Today we can say: ‘We are on the map of the moon’ and this is a fantastic accomplishment.

There is an achievement here that expresses the nature of the State of Israel that rose and took flight to unimaginable places. Thank you. I am seriously considering investing now in the space program. This has national implications for the State of Israel and for humanity. We will do both.”

“We will try again. We reached the moon but we want to land more softly and this will be on the next attempt. This very attempt is a tremendous achievement and I think that you see by all the applause here that we really are the fourth country to reach it. We will be the fourth country to land on the moon if we persist. From my point-of-view, the eagle has landed. The State of Israel has taken off. Next time it will be better. An Israeli spacecraft will land on the moon whole. In another three years, a spacecraft will land on the moon – whole.”

Chairman of SpaceIL Morris Kahn said: ”Israel made it to the moon, Beresheet’s journey hasn’t ended. I expect Israel’s next generation to complete the mission for us.”
An Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) spokesperson added: “IAI is proud to be part of this amazing journey with SpaceIL that brought us to the moon. We will continue to lead Israel to unbelievable achievements. The Beresheet effect will continue to lead the children of Israel to dream about Beresheet 2.0!”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder congratulated Israel on attempting to become the fourth country in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon, hailing the journey as “a testament to Israel’s unparalleled leadership in the world of innovation and technology.”

“Today, Israel attempted to go where only a few nations have gone before. From this tiny country of just over 8 million people, a spacecraft bearing the national flag of the Jewish people and the Hebrew name Beresheet spun through the great outer space hoping to land precisely on the moon, after years of diligent efforts,” Lauder said.

“Unfortunately, Beresheet did not land as its innovators dreamed of, but this attempt was just the beginning of what will one day be a successful journey. Of the countries that have attempted to reach the moon, only three – the US, China and Russia – have managed to land. Today’s quest by Israel was an extraordinary technological achievement, in every sense of the word,” Lauder said.

“This landmark quest is a testament to Israel’s unparalleled leadership in the world of innovation and technology, science and creativity, and ambition to reach the greatest heights known to man. Anybody who might question whether Israel truly deserves the epithet of start-up nation has been given undeniable proof of this today,” Lauder added. “Israel may not have landed on the moon, but it certainly reached closer than we could have ever imagined.”

“We extend our deep congratulations to Space IL, to the Israeli Aerospace Industry, to the government and citizens of Israel, and to all who worked on this endeavour. Every year on Passover, we declare, next year in Jerusalem. Not so long from now, let us also add, next year, on the moon,” Lauder said.

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