Tag Archives: Israel

Palestinians threaten to end West Bank agreements with Israel

The head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, threatened yesterday to scrap all cooperative agreements with Israel that are used by both to run the differently controlled sections of West Bank if Israel goes ahead with declaring sovereignty over its settlements in that West Bank, as outlined in the Trump-offered peace deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has said he is ending “all agreements” with Israel and the United States in response to Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Israel would now have to “bear all responsibilities… as an occupying power”, Mr Abbas said.

Similar warnings in the past have ultimately not been followed through.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley. The move would be in line with US President Donald Trump’s “vision for peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, which was unveiled in January. Mr Trump’s plan also envisages a Palestinian state in about 70% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and with its capital on the fringes of East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians – who claim all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – have dismissed the plan as biased towards Israel and a denial of their rights.

If Abbas goes through with this threat, it will mean that the Palestinians will no longer cooperate with the Israelis on security matters. In that case do not expect the Israelis to stand by meekly when there is an almost guaranteed subsequent rise in Palestinian terrorist attacks. Like all actions by the Palestinian leadership since 1948, such a course by Abbas would end up shooting the Palestinians in the foot. Israel would be forced to move in and take power again, throwing Abbas and his corrupt PA out. There might be some initial objections by the Palestinian population, but since their lot has suffered since rule in their areas was shifted from Israel to the PA after the Oslo Accords, I suspect the protests will be superficial and short-lived.

Share

Party shuffling points to new Israeli Netanyahu government

It appears that after three elections in a year, the stalemate that has prevented the formation of a coalition government in Israel has finally ended.

Up until now, the stalemate existed because though the right has generally had the most votes and won more than enough seats to form a government, one of the smaller conservative parties, Yisrael Beytenu, refused to join any coalition that also included the conservative religious parties. Instead, its leader, Avigdor Liberman, wanted Netanyahu to form a unity coalition with his party, Netanyahu’s party Likud, and the liberal coalition, Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz.

Neither Netanyahu nor Blue and White would agree to this. The result: more than a year of stalemate.

This week however Gantz agreed to abandon Blue and White and take his part of that coalition away and join with Netanyahu in a deal that would have him begin as speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and then become prime minister in a eighteen months.

This deal cuts out both Yisrael Beytenu as well as the religious parties (breaking a promise that Netanyahu has repeatedly made not to do this), and forms a coalition that includes both the conservative Likud and the liberal Labor and Gantz’s Hosen L’Yisrael party. It also cuts out many of the more liberal parts of Blue and White that are very hostile to Netanyahu.

The deal is not yet finalized, so anything could still happen.

Share

Stalemate continues in Israel

With 99% of the votes counted from this week’s election Israel, it appears that the stalemate between the right and left party coalitions (that has forced three elections in the past year) will continue, with neither obtaining sufficient seats in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to form a majority.

The stalemate this past year has forced some consolidation in the number of parties, but not enough. Netanyahu’s conservative block remains the largest at 58 seats, but it needs 61 to form a government.

The problem remains the small party Yisrael Beytenu, which was once part of the conservative block but pulled out last year. Their leader, Avigdor Liberman, has repeatedly demanded the formation of a unity government, comprised of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party with the liberal Blue-and-White party, thereby cutting out the smaller religious parties that form the rest of Netanyahu’s block.

Though this position appears to have caused Yisrael Beytenu to lose one seat in the most recent election, its base, made up mostly of Russian immigrants, has remained firm. These votes, while tending to be conservative, seem also hostile to religion, thus explaining Liberman’s demands.

Share

Trump’s Mideast peace plan: What it really reveals

This week President Trump unveiled his proposed comprehensive peace plan for settling the differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The plan has not garnered a lot of press attention, partly because of the media’s general bias against Trump, but mostly because no one expects it to be adopted. The plan is crucially important, however, not because it might become reality but because of what it reveals about the various players involved, telling us everything we need to know about them as well as what they really stand for.

The details of that plan, discussed here at great length, suggest that it offers a mixed bag to both sides. While it will give billions in aid to the Palestinians to help jump start their own sovereign state, carved out of the territories they presently hold, it also recognizes Israel’s hold on the parts of the West Bank it presently occupies.

It also demands the following from the Palestinians:

Before Palestine can unlock any benefit, the Hamas government in Gaza must be removed from power and replaced with the Palestinian Authority. If Hamas wants to remain in power, the group must renounce violence, fully disarm, and accept the existence of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. That’s a non-starter. Hamas faces political and economic pressure, but a capitulation of its ideology or its power is unlikely. The plan also requires the new State of Palestine to safeguard freedom of speech and religion and promote financial and government transparency. [emphasis mine]

The responses to this plan are, as I said, quite revealing.
» Read more

Share

SpaceIL gets $1 million grant for building Beresheet-2

The Israeli non-profit that built Beresheet-1 has received a $1 million grant in order to pursue building Beresheet-2.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation has provided a one million dollar grant to SpaceIL to support the “Beresheet 2” spacecraft program and advance the goal of landing an unmanned Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. “Beresheet 1”, launched on February 22, 2019, made Israel the 7th country in the world to reach the Moon’s orbit. The new Blavatnik grant will enable SpaceIL to recruit a new CEO to drive plans for “Beresheet 2” forward.

It remains unknown whether Beresheet-2 will ever get built. The money is insufficient to build a new lunar lander. Moreover, several of SpaceIL engineers have left the company and formed their own private space business, partnering with Firefly Aerospace to build their own lunar lander.

Share

Landslide primary win for Netanyahu

In a primary election today for the leadership of the conservative Israeli Likud Party, in advance of another general election on March 2nd, Benjamin Netanyahu won a landslide victory over his party challenger.

The primary election saw 49% of all Likud party members show up to vote in spite of the stormy weather, a slight increase over the last time a primary election was held by the Likud. Of the nearly 60 thousand people that cast a ballot, 72.5% did so for the incumbent Netanyahu and 27.5% for his challenger Gideon Sa’ar.

Netanyahu’s win was expected, but the landslide proportions of it were not and thus the primary challenge itself had most assuredly worked to Netanyahu’s advantage. It reaffirmed his complete hold over the Likud party and gave him a reason to re-energize his base ahead of the March 2nd general election.

While the article touts the election victory as an indication that Likud’s position is strong in the coming election, I would not be so sure. This is the third general election in Israel in less than a year, all because the voters have refused to chose a clear leader. Though they have favored the conservative parties, those parties have not been able to form a government because one party refuses to join a coalition that includes the orthodox religious parties.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu faces a court fight, as he is under indictment and there is the possibility that the high court in Israel will rule that under those conditions he cannot form a government.

Share

Israel still aims for second attempt to land on Moon

According to an official with Israel’s government-owned aerospace manufacturer, Israel is still planning a second Beresheet mission to land an unmanned probe on the Moon, despite the failure of Beresheet earlier this year.

But despite the hard landing, Israel has no intent to stop chasing the moon, Hayun said. (Shortly after the crash, the SpaceIL organization behind the mission suggested it would target a different destination than the moon; it’s unclear what will happen on that front.) The team behind Beresheet has mostly stayed on, he said during his presentation, and they intend to fly a new version of the lander within two or 2.5 years.

The successor spacecraft would include some design tweaks meant to increase the mission’s odds of landing softly. New versions will carry upgraded computers and, unlike the original Beresheet spacecraft, will be armed with an obstacle-avoidance system for landing. But Israel’s future landers will still be compact and still work with rideshare launches, Hayun said.

As much as I sincerely hope this happens, I am somewhat skeptical. First of all, a number of key Israeli engineers left SpaceIL to form a partnership with the U.S. company Firefly. Second, this presentation appears to have been very vague on where they intend to get their funding. If anything, it appears to be a sales effort to find that money.

Share

Netanyahu fails to form government

It appears that Benjamin Netanyahu’s present reign as Israeli prime minister, begun in 2008, is about to end. He has given up trying to form a coalition led by his Likud Party, and according to Israeli law, the second largest party, Blue and White, led by Bernie Gantz, will try next.

Whether Gantz can form his own coalition, based on the present break down of Israeli factions, is quite questionable. It would appear that he either can form a government with Likud and Netanyahu, something his party opposes, or he must include the Arab Joint List, something that almost all the other parties oppose.

Share

Israel election produces uncertainty again

Yesterday’s election in Israel, called because the leading block led by Benjamin Natanyahu could not form a majority coalition after the last election in May, has apparently resulted in a similar result.

I am still researching what I think might be the causes behind this on-going situation in Israeli politics. The article at the link describes some of the negotiations between the various factions that might produce a new Natanyahu government, or not.

My sense is that this situation all begins with the special exemptions to military service that still remain for the orthodox, or haredi community. The reason Natanyahu could not form a coalition in May was that one of his expected partners, a generally conservative but secular party dubbed Yisrael Beytenu, wanted a commitment to remove those remaining exemptions, and Natanyahu couldn’t get the various religious parties to go along.

As result, it appears that the religious parties lost some support in yesterday’s election, making it even harder for Natanyahu to make a deal.

I have asked some of my relatives in Israel if my analysis here makes sense, and am waiting a response.

Either way, it appears that no one is going to have an easy time putting together a government in Israel.

Update: This story from Israel tonight provides some clarity about the position of Yisrael Beytenu, stated by its chairman, Avigdor Liberman. In it he outlines his party’s demands, which do not just involve the special military exemptions for the haredi but also the power the orthodox have held in Israel over other issues.

“We will not concede on the passing of the Draft Law, as it was originally written, we will not concede on repealing the Supermarket Law, we will not concede on public transportation on Shabbat, we will not concede on civil marriages, and the introduction of core studies into haredi education. These are the conditions, and until we hear things in that spirit – there’s nothing to talk about.”

All of these cited issues involve the effort by the religious parties to exert more control. For example, the Supermarket Law, passed in 2018, gave the national government power to determine whether local businesses could be open on Shabbat (Saturday, the day of rest), instead of local bylaws. Similarly, issues of marriage and education all involved a conflict between the secular and orthodox communities.

Either way, Liberman will only join a coalition of all the secular parties, excluding both the Jewish religious parties and the Arab parties (dubbed the Joint List). To do this would require the two largest parties, the conservative Likud, led by Natanyahu, and the more liberal Blue and White, led by Benny Gantz to partner. Everything I have read suggests this will not be possible, as long as Natanyahu leads Likud.

Share

Tlaib lies about desire to visit grandmother in West Bank

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaid (D-Michigan), banned by the Israeli government from making a political trip to visit Israel and the West Bank, then wrote a private letter to Israel interior minister Aryeh Deri, asking for permission to just go to the West Bank to visit her aged grandmother.

In a letter obtained by CNN, Deri revealed Tlaib had requested and was granted permission to enter the West Bank to visit her grandmother, who is 90 years old. “This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit,” the Michigan Democrat wrote to Deri. [emphasis mine]

As soon as the interior minister gave her this permission, Tlaib then announced publicly today that she would not accept this offer:

“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice,”

As the interior minister noted correctly today, “I agreed to this humanitarian request, but it turns out that it was just a provocation aimed at embarrassing Israel.”

Tlaib is a dishonest liar who hates Israel and all Jews. She allies herself with the worst Jew-hating Palestinians who want to wipe Israel out and kill all the Jews that live there. It thus no surprise that Israel banned her political visit. (And if you doubt the anti-Semitism of Tlaib and her partner Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), read this story: Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib Partnered with Vicious Anti-Semites to Plan Their Trip to Israel.)

Yet, that Israel still was willing to let her come, on the condition it was only to visit her grandmother, says a great deal about Israel itself.

Share

Israel to block entry to Muslim anti-Israeli Congresswomen

The Netanyahu Israeli government today announced that it will not allow Muslim congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) to enter their country because of their anti-Israeli boycott stances.

“As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any critic and criticism, with one exception,” Netanyahu said. “Israel’s law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel, as is the case with other democracies that prevent the entry of people whose perception harms the country. “The same is true of the US towards an Israeli Knesset and other public figures in the world.”Congressmen Talib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in the US Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their visitation plan, and it became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”

That both congresswomen are anti-Semites might also have been a factor in this decision.

Recognize this: Democrat politicians can spout ugly lies as much as they want (“All Trump voters are white supremacists!”), they can act to silence all opposition, they can even threaten the lives of anyone who disagrees with them, but should even one conservative dare, dare, to fight back it is considered behavior worse than Hitler.

Bah. I say good for Netanyahu and the Israelis. Tell these bigots to go jump in a lake. Let them scream and yell and throw tantrums. It will only better reveal how hateful these congresswomen really are.

Share

Water bears on the Moon!

A digital library carried by the Israeli lunar lander, Beresheet, that crashed on the Moon in April also carried with it dehydrated tardigrades, also called water bears.

Spivack had planned to send DNA samples to the moon in future versions of the lunar library, not on this mission. But a few weeks before Spivack had to deliver the lunar library to the Israelis, however, he decided to include some DNA in the payload anyway. Ha and an engineer on Spivack’s team added a thin layer of epoxy resin between each layer of nickel, a synthetic equivalent of the fossilized tree resin that preserves ancient insects. Into the resin they tucked hair follicles and blood samples from Spivack and 24 others that he says represent a diverse genetic cross-section of human ancestry, in addition to some dehydrated tardigrades and samples from major holy sites, like the Bodhi tree in India. A few thousand extra dehydrated tardigrades were sprinkled onto the tape used to secure the lunar library to the Beresheet lander.

The promising thing about the tardigrades, says Spivack, is that they could hypothetically be revived in the future. Tardigrades are known to enter dormant states in which all metabolic processes stop and the water in their cells is replaced by a protein that effectively turns the cells into glass. Scientists have revived tardigrades that have spent up to 10 years in this dehydrated state, although in some cases they may be able to survive much longer without water. Although the lunar library is designed to last for millions of years, scientists are just beginning to understand how tardigrades manage to survive in so many unforgiving environments. It’s conceivable that as we learn more about tardigrades, we’ll discover ways to rehydrate them after much longer periods of dormancy.

They suspect that the digital library probably survived the crash, which means the dehydrated water bears did also.

Don’t expect the Moon to be overrun by tardigrades. However, it will be a very interesting discovery if we find, years hence when explorers finally can recover that digital library, that the tardigrades can be re-hydrated and come back to life.

Share

Beresheet design adopted by Firefly & Israeli private partnership

Capitalism in space: The American smallsat launch company Firefly Aerospace announced today that they will be partnering with a private Israeli company to use the design of Beresheet to build their own lunar lander for NASA.

Firefly Aerospace announced that it is partnering with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to create a new lunar vehicle based on the crashed spacecraft’s blueprints. Firefly says this lander will build upon “lessons learned” from the accident to ensure that the new lander does not meet the same fate.

…If Firefly does mount a lunar mission, the company’s lander, called Genesis, will leverage much of the Beresheet design as well as the IAI team’s flight experience. “Firefly Aerospace is excited to partner with Israel Aerospace Industries to provide the only NASA CLPS program flight-proven lander design,” Shea Ferring, Firefly’s vice president of mission assurance, said in a statement. The name of the lander is also a nod to Beresheet, which means “Genesis” in Hebrew.

It appears that a group of engineers from the non-profit SpaceIL, that built Beresheet, have teamed up to form their own company. It also appears that they have some rights to the spacecraft’s design, and could take them with them.

Firefly is competing for a NASA contract to land on the Moon. This deal strengthens their bid considerably.

Share

SpaceIL decides Beresheet-2 will not be lunar mission

The new colonial movement: The Israeli nonprofit company SpaceIL has decided that its second Beresheet spacecraft will not go to the Moon.

The association’s board of directors decided to involve the public in the process of choosing the challenge that Beresheet 2 will lead, as was done in the national mission to the moon. At the same time, the association will continue to focus on establishing the values ​​of the “Beresheet effect” among the younger generation in Israel.

What I think is really going on is that they have realized that they cannot raise the necessary cash to fly another lunar lander, and are therefore setting their sights lower in order to find a mission they can fund.

Share

India sides with Israel in UN for the first time

On June 6 the Indian government for the first time voted in support of Israel and its motion against a Palestinian non-governmental organization linked to jihadi terrorist groups.

The vote took place on June 6, just weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his allies won a two-thirds majority in the Indian general elections. Since Modi took office in May 2014, India has mostly abstained from voting on UN resolutions targeting the Jewish state but has shied away from siding with Israel at the international body.

…By backing Israel at the UN, Prime Minister Modi has finally broken away from the country’s historical voting pattern of siding with the Arab and Muslim countries.

Modi’s landslide election victory probably helped bring about this change of position. I also suspect that Trump’s decision to cut off funds from Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, while moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, also made it easier for Modi to make this change. Trump has essentially said that the Palestinian emperor has no clothes (ie they are not interested in peace, only killing Jews), and this has allowed many others to chime in as well.

Share

Netanyahu calls for new elections

Having failed to form a coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu has called for new elections, only seven weeks after his coalition of parties won the previous election.

Like all the Israeli news sources I’ve read, this one is also somewhat vague about the disagreement, which is between the orthodox parties and another smaller party within Netanyahu’s coalition.

At the heart of the impasse was the issue of drafting ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students: Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman, without whom Netanyahu can’t form a coalition, refused to back down on the bill’s terms, while ultra-Orthodox parties claimed they have already yielded enough ground.

It appears the disagreement involves a new law related to the requirement that orthodox yeshiva students be liable for the military draft, as are all other Israeli citizens. Because of a deal made many decades ago by Ben-Gurion, those students had been exempted from the draft until just a few years ago. It seems the negotiations were either an attempt to expand their exemption again, or reduce it further. None of the stories I’ve read have been clear on this point.

Share

Foreign elections: UK, India, France, Italy, Israel

Foreign elections in the past week all suggest that Trump’s victory in the U.S. is no accident, and that our so-called betters in the elitist class in DC had better recognize this or they will find themselves out of work.

In Europe supporters of the European Union generally got crushed:

Turn-out was up across the board, which with these victories for the populist parties also indicates the public favors them, and wanted to give them victories. As one would expect, the press has routinely labeled the winners here as “far-right,” a slander aimed at discrediting them.

The European Union was without doubt a good idea. Sadly, its implementation by the elitists in Europe was terrible, as bad if not worse then the terrible job the U.S. establishment has done for the past three decades, failing to do anything right while simultaneously drowning the country in debt and stifling regulation.

Meanwhile in India, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came away with a landslide victory. In many ways Modi’s win mirrors the European elections. Overall, Modi has worked to shift India away from the centralized socialist/communist policies that dominated its government in the last half of the 20th century, policies that are very similar to the policies followed by the ruling EU parties. In India those centralized policies worked as badly as they have in Europe and the U.S., which is why they experienced a political collapse.

Modi’s shift to private enterprise has resulted in a booming economy and great prosperity, so much so that it has allowed India to expand its space program significantly.

Finally, in Israel, the victory several weeks ago of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition has not yet resulted in a new government. It appears Netanyahu is having trouble forming a government.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he would meet with the leaders of the prospective coalition parties in the coming hours in a final effort to save the new government and avert new elections. “I am now making my last-ditch effort to form a right-wing government and to prevent unnecessary elections. I gave the partners a proposal for a solution. It is based on the principles that the army has established and on the data that the army has established – there is no reason to reject it, “Netanyahu said.

It appears that the conservative haredi religious parties that normally ally themselves with Netanyahu’s Likud party have been playing hard ball, preventing an agreement. In other words, the demand is that the government shift even more righward, a pattern comparable to Europe.

Share

U.S. experiment on Beresheet might have survived crash

Scientists for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have revealed that the small U.S. experiment on Beresheet might have survived the spacecraft’s crash onto the lunar surface.

The NASA payload, known as the Lunar Retroreflector Array (LRA), is a technology demonstration composed of eight mirrors made of quartz cube corners that are set into a dome-shaped aluminum frame. These mirrors are intended to serve as markers for other spacecraft, which can use them to orient themselves for precision landings. The entire instrument is smaller than a computer mouse and lightweight. But it’s tough, radiation-hardened and designed to be long-lived, so the LRA may not have been destroyed by Beresheet’s hard landing.

“Yes, we believe the laser reflector array would have survived the crash, although it may have separated from the main spacecraft body,” said David Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, principal investigator of the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

“Of course, we do not know the orientation of the array,” Smith, who’s also an emeritus researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told Inside Outer Space. “It could be upside down, but it has a 120-degree angle of reception, and we only need 1 of the 0.5-inch cubes for detection. But it has certainly not made it any easier.”

They are going to use LOLA to try to find LRA. If they get a reflection, that experiment will essentially be a success, despite Beresheet’s failure.

Share

Beresheet failure linked to ground command

SpaceIL’s investigation into the landing failure of its Beresheet lunar spacecraft now suggests that a ground command to reactivate a balky inertial measurement unit (IMU) might have caused the main engine to shut down.

A command intended to correct a malfunction in one of the Beresheet spacecraft’s inertial measurement unit (IMUs) led to a chain of events which turned off its main engine during landing, according to a preliminary investigation conducted by SpaceIL.

…A chain of events caused by a command sent from the SpaceIL control room turned off the spacecraft’s main engine and prevented proper engine activation, Anteby said, rendering a crash-landing on the Moon inevitable.

It is still unclear how a command to one shut down the other, but the investigation is still on going. I suspect they will pin this down to a software design issue.

Share

SpaceIL to try again to land on Moon

Capitalism in space: The head of the private Israeli company SpaceIL has announced that he has found funding to build a second Beresheet lunar lander, and that they will try again.

How much funding he has gotten is not clear, but I suspect that the success his company had in getting to lunar orbit and almost landing will encourage investment capital.

Hat tip reader Andi.

Share

Beresheet landing fails

Beresheet's last image

An engine problem during landing has caused Beresheet to crash onto the lunar surface.

The image on the right was the last image beamed back by the spacecraft during the landing sequence. It looks down at the lunar surface from several thousand meters.

As Netanyahu immediately noted, “If at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”

This failure definitely slows down the effort to transition from government-controlled space exploration to a free effort by the independent citizenry of all nations. It does not stop it however. There are other private lunar missions already scheduled, and of course, there is the effort by SpaceX to build its own heavy-lift rocket to make interplanetary space travel affordable for all.

The next decade will see this effort blossom. Beresheet’s failure is an example of those first baby steps, when the ability to stand is uncertain, and sometimes results in a fall. But babies turn into adults. The future is bright indeed.

Share

Beresheet landing telecast live streaming now

They have begun the live stream of Beresheet’s landing on the moon, with the arrival of Benjamin Netanyahu in the viewer’s gallery. It is in Hebrew, and will likely mostly involve watching people sitting at computer consoles, and then standing and cheering when the spacecraft lands.

However, I have embedded it below the fold for your viewing pleasure.

UPDATE: They are including English commentary.
» Read more

Share

Beresheet lowers orbit in preparation for lunar landing on April 11

The new colonial movement: The privately built lunar lander Beresheet has lowered its orbit in preparation for its planned lunar landing on April 11, now set for between 3 and 4 pm (Eastern).

It fired its engines on April 8 for 36 seconds, lowering its orbital low point to 131 miles.

The landing will be live streamed here.

Share

Beresheet’s first pictures of the Moon

Beresheet looks at the Moon

The new colonial movement: The privately built Israeli planetary probe Beresheet, now in lunar orbit, has released its first pictures of the Moon.

The image on the right is one of those images, cropped to post here, and was taken from about 300 miles altitude. The link has a second image showing the Moon with the Earth in the distance. The resolution of both images is quite impressive.

The landing is scheduled for April 11. Stay tuned!

Share

Beresheet makes course adjustment just prior to entering lunar orbit

Earth as seen by Beresheet

The Israeli privately-funded lunar lander Beresheet yesterday completed a one-minute engine burn to adjust its course slightly in preparation for entering lunar orbit on April 4.

This morning’s 72-second-long burn helped make some “final adjustments” ahead of capture into lunar orbit, mission team members said in an update this morning. It’s unclear if any further such tweaks will be needed. “The teams are assessing the results to determine if another alignment will be required before Beresheet enters the lunar orbit this Thursday,” project team members said.

The image to the right was taken by Beresheet of the Earth during its last close approach on March 31. It appropriately shows the Middle East, with the Arabian peninsula visible just below center.

The landing is still scheduled for April 11.

Share

An explanation of the on-going Israeli elections

Link here. The video at the link is very much worth watching, as it clearly and quickly explains the nature of the on-going Israeli election, while also giving a sense of the present election trends.

Bottom line is that the conservative coalition led by Netanyahu remains solidly in the lead, reinforced by a new poll today.

Share

U.S. recognizes Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights

The United States today officially recognized the Israeli claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

President Trump on Monday formally recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a much-needed boost as he raced home to respond to a rocket attack that struck near Tel Aviv, wounding seven.

Mr. Trump’s proclamation reversed about a half-century of U.S. policy, which viewed the Golan Heights as Syrian territory occupied by Israel. “This was a long time in the making, it should have taken place many decades ago,” Mr. Trump said as he signed the papers inside the White House.

The rocket attack came from Gaza, causing Netanyahu to cut short his U.S. trip to deal with it.

Remember Gaza? That was the territory that Israel once controlled, and unilaterally left in order to give the Palestinians their own sovereign state. They have since used that sovereignty to elect terrorists as their leaders, and to lob bombs at innocent Israelis.

Share

Beresheet sends back first pictures

The privately-built Israeli lunar lander Beresheet has sent back its first pictures, taken on its way to the moon.

The picture, taken 37,600 km from Earth, shows the Israeli flag and the inscription with “Am Yisrael Hai” (the People of Israel Live) in Hebrew and the inscription “Small Country, Big Dreams” in English. The spacecraft was snapped as it passed over Australia, and the photograph was taken during a very slow rotation by Beresheet. The Israeli spacecraft, built in an IAI factory, is in an elliptical orbit around Earth – its greatest distance from Earth (the apogee) at this stage is some 131,000 kilometers.

While the press wants to trivialize this image by calling it a selfie, it was taken for very important engineering reasons. It demonstrates that the camera and the spacecraft’s pointing systems are working, exactly as planned.

Beresheet will continue to raise the apogee of its orbit until it enters the Moon’s gravitational sphere of influence, when it will then shift into lunar orbit.

Share
1 2 3 7