Israel Briefs: Foreign Investment in Israel Climbs and More


Israeli Spacecraft Crashes Onto Moon

The Israeli Beresheet spacecraft crashed onto the moon on April 11, ending a disappointing sequence that saw the main engine cut off before being restarted — but communications were cut off, The New York Times reported.

“Well, we didn’t make it, but we definitely tried,” said Morris Kahn, an Israeli telecommunications entrepreneur and president of SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit that undertook the mission. “I think we can be proud.”

Israel was aiming to be the fourth country to land on the moon, following the United States, the former Soviet Union and China.

Beresheet was a $100 million joint project between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries. It launched Feb. 22 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and repeatedly orbited the Earth. It moved into lunar orbit on April 4 after being captured by the moon’s gravity, reported.

Once on the moon, Beresheet was going to take photos with high-resolution cameras then measure the magnetic field of Mare Serenitatis, the area where it landed.

Kahn announced on April 13 the establishment of Beresheet 2, a second attempt to land on the moon.

Foreign Investment in Israel Climbs

Between 2015 and 2017, foreign investment in Israel increased from under $100 billion to $129.1 billion, according to an April 7 report from the Central Bureau of Statistics, reported.

The biggest chunk of that investment came from the United States ($21.1 billion), which was followed by the Netherlands, the Cayman Islands, Canada, China, Luxembourg, Singapore and Switzerland.

About 60 percent of that investment in 2017 went to the trade and services field, with the rest divided between high-tech, industry and advanced technologies.

Statistics also showed that Israelis abroad were increasing investments outside the country — $100.3 billion went into foreign ventures, about two-thirds of that into industry.

Animals Removed from Gaza Zoo

An international animal welfare group rescued 40 neglected animals from a Gaza Strip zoo on April 7, reported.

Five lions, five monkeys, four ostriches, three peacocks, two wolves, foxes, porcupines, 10 squirrels and a hyena were evacuated by veterinarians and volunteers from Four Paws International from the zoo in Rafah in southern Gaza. The animals will be resituated to Jordan and South Africa.

Four Paws staff said the animals — which apparently were smuggled into Gaza from tunnels in Egypt — were suffering from trauma and neglect. Zoo animals were rescued three previous times from Gaza zoos. Four lion cubs died at a Rafah zoo in January.

West Bank Medical School Approved

A medical school will be established at the West Bank Ariel University after Israel’s Council for Higher Education granted approval on April 11 via a 13-5 vote, JTA reported.

The school plans to launch in October with 70 students. If accreditation hadn’t been granted, the students wouldn’t have been permitted to train at Israeli hospitals. There are five other medical schools in Israel.

Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy American casino magnate and philanthropist, donated $20 million to the university in 2017 for expansion purposes. That included a medical school named for him and his wife Miriam. She is a doctor born in Israel.


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