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Israeli satellite successfully launched in India

Jerusalem: The news of the successful launch of a nano satellite made by three Israeli high school students aboard PSLV launcher at Sriharikota in India lifted the spirits of Israeli lawmakers on a gloomy day when they were trying to avert an unprecedented third round of elections in less than a year.

“Not an easy day, somewhat embarrassing but before we start with other things…..To lift our spirits, without sarcasm, I want to announce the successful launch of a satellite, a few moments back, made by high school students from the Herzliya Science Centre and Sha’ar HeNegev High school onboard an Indian launcher,” Alon Schuster told the Knesset (Parliament) on Wednesday soon after the launch.

Three youngsters, Alon Abramovich, Meitav Assulin and Shmuel Aviv Levi, all 17 to 18 years old, from Sha’ar HaNegev High school in Israel’s southern region led the efforts in making the Duchifat 3 satellite over a period of two and a half years.

Jointly built by efforts of students from the Herzliya Science Center and Sha’ar Hanegev High School, the satellite is designed to serve children from across the country to “observe the Earth”.

 It is a photo satellite used for ecological research of Earth from space. The size of the satellite is 10x10x30 cm (3U) and weighs 2.3 kg. The satellite is meant to help the agriculturists in Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel will vote a third time in less than a year on March 2 after the Knesset failed to recommend the name of a lawmaker to form a government with the support of majority members in the 120 member House before Wednesday midnight deadline.

The Knesset was automatically dispersed at midnight on Wednesday, but lawmakers continued debating until early Thursday on the date of the vote.

With no Knesset member having gained the support of 61 lawmakers by the midnight deadline, the Knesset, as per norms, gets dissolved and new elections are held on the 90th day, meaning March 10 next year.

With March 10 falling on the Jewish festival of Purim, the lawmakers passed a bill setting the elections for March 2. The bill was passed 96 to 7. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was absent for earlier proceedings, showed up for the vote that was passed just before 3.30 am on Thursday.

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