Good News Friday

It’s hard to believe another week has gone by, especially another week in which Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali have not returned home. Nevertheless I still want to post a Good News Friday post to help us into Shabbat.

The Duchifat 1 satellite

The tiny Duchifat 1 satellite

We’ll start with Israel’s hi-tech sector once again. Back in January I mentioned a tiny satellite being built by a group of high school students in Herzliya. The only challenge at the time was:

Of course, once the satellite is built, it’s got to get up into space, and Ariel has a plan for that, too. “We plan to hitch a ride with a full-sized Russian satellite which is to be launched in April,” he said.

Well, it wasn’t quite April, but last week they did it! The tiny satellite, named Duchifat (“Hoopoe”) was successfully launched into space:

A minuscule satellite designed by a group of Israeli high school students was launched into space Thursday from a site in Russia. The satellite, Duchifat 1, weighs a mere 840 grams (1.9 pounds) and was developed by students at the Herzliya Science Center. The satellite is the first Israeli spacecraft of its kind to orbit the earth.

Nearly 200 students took part in the satellite’s construction and development over the past couple of years. Forty of the students, aged 16-17, perfected the spacecrafts’s design and gave it its final touches in the last few months.

Duchifat 1, built with the help of the Israeli Space Agency in the Ministry of Science, is meant to assist in locating lost travelers in areas with no cellphone reception, Walla reported. The satellite is solar powered and is expected to remain in orbit for the next 20 years.

The tiny space satellite, which was attached to a 34-ton rocket, entered orbit after the rocket was launched from the Yasny launch base in Russia

Just imagine if that satellite had been fully operational 2 weeks ago, maybe it would have helped to locate the kidnapped teenagers.

Kol hakavod once again to those very talented and enterprising students at the Herzliya Science Center. Their teachers and parents can be very proud of them, as we are all are of our future budding scientists.

Sky Cars to be introduced at IAI

Still with the hi-tech field, a futuristic network of “Sky Cars” is to be built in Tel Aviv,(via Reality) starting first at the Israel Aerospace Industries, and if successful, it will become a commercial enterprise:

A 500m loop will be built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) followed by a commercial network, according to skyTran, the company that will build it.

Two-person vehicles will be suspended from elevated magnetic tracks, as an alternative transport method to congested roads, the firm promised.

The system should be up and running by the end of 2015.

The firm hopes the test track will prove that the technology works and lead to a commercial version of the network.

The plan is to allow passengers to order a vehicle on their smartphone to meet them at a specific station and then head directly to their destination.

The vehicles will achieve speeds of up to 70km/h (43mph) although the commercial rollout is expected to offer much faster vehicles.

The car looks like something out of HG Wells or Jules Verne! Although not developed in Israel, we can be proud that we were chosen to test-drive the prototype.  If it succeeds it will revolutionise the traffic system in Tel Aviv. It can’t roll out fast enough for me. Kol hakavod to the developers of this ingenious system.

 Beit Guvrin-Maresha's man-made limestone caves

Light shines through one of Beit Guvrin-Maresha’s man-made limestone caves | Photo credit: Doron Nissim

From Tel Aviv we move back in time and eastwards geographically to the famous caves at Bet Guvrin which have just been recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO:

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted in Qatar on Sunday to admit Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park to the growing list of World Heritage sites, making it the eighth World Heritage site in Israel.

Adding Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park, a site that enfolds the ruins of the First Temple-period town of Maresha, bolsters Israel’s standing as an important bridge to ancient times, a preserver of world heritage, and a conduit between the past and present. The recognition will likely both boost the number of visitors to the site and help with crucial preservation efforts.

Beit Guvrin-Maresha joins seven other Israeli world heritage sites: Masada, the Old City of Acre, the White City of Tel Aviv, the Negev incense route, the biblical tels of Megiddo, Hazor and Beersheba, the Bahai holy places in Haifa and the Western Galilee, and the Nahal Me’arot caves on Mount Carmel.

Considering UNESCO’s very iffy relationship towards Israel this is extremely good news. Kol hakavod to all the Israeli officials involved in working towards this recognition, and – dare I say it? – kol hakavod to UNESCO for giving this well-deserved recognition to such a beautiful and interesting site.

I will conclude this week’s post with an excellent video (h/t HDK) of the Lebanese-born American journalist Brigitte Gabriel, who is a very pro-Israel activist. In this video she gives a fantastic answer to a Muslim who complains that Muslims are portrayed badly in the media.  Brigitte Gabriel’s answer begins at 4:10 on the video if you don’t want to watch it all.

Watch and learn – and enjoy. Would that there were many more right-minded people like Ms. Gabriel in the media.

I wish you all Shabbat Shalom, Chodesh Tov and may we hear besorot tovot (good news).

Please pray for the safe return of:

Yakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah  יעקב נפתלי בן רחל דבורה
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim גלעד מיכאל בן בת-גלים
Eyal ben Iris Teshura  אייל בן איריס תשורה


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One Response to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    What a terrible shame that satelite wasn’t in orbit 2weeks ago.But still I’m amazed that schoolkids can produce something so extraordinary.What genuii(geniuses?).They’ll be able to still use it when their kids are their age now.Incredible.As foe the sky car-I’d feel like I’m in a Star Trek movie!It looks such fun,but will certainly help sort out all our congested streets.
    The clip is amazing Thank You
    Let’s hope by this time next week our 3boys will be home safely with their families. We just have to keep on praying and supporting our soldiers in their search.
    Shabbat Shalom

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