November 14, 2019

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02/21 Links Pt2: Why should we hate Israel?; Did UNC Promote Sarsour Talk by Using Photo of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial?; Israel’s first moon mission set for liftoff from Florida

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/02/0221-links-pt2-why-should-we-hate.html

From Ian:


JPost Editorial: Antisemitism in France
Gallant said the vandalism at the Jewish cemetery was “reminiscent of dark days in the history of the Jewish people.”

“Last week, I visited the French Jewish community, which faces antisemitic attacks and a process of assimilation,” he said. “The State of Israel is the safe, national home for the Jews of the world. I strongly condemn the antisemitism in France and call on Jews [to] come home; immigrate to Israel.”

Meyer Habib, a Jewish member of France’s National Assembly, said the recent spate of antisemitic attacks raised “serious questions over the future of Jews in France.”

While aliyah is clearly an option, a report from Paris by Bernard Edinger in The Jerusalem Report indicates that immigration to Israel from France is on the wane rather than the rise.

After reaching a record 24,000 immigrants from 2013 through 2016, according to the Jewish Agency, annual immigration from France dropped in 2018 for the third year running, to only 2,660 (down from 3,500 in 2017, and 5,000 in 2016).

Despite the rise in antisemitism, according to Daniel Benhaim, outgoing head of the Jewish Agency in France, “French Jews feel that the situation is less oppressive than it was in the past, and there is less of a feeling that they should accelerate their departure to Israel.”

While we commend French leaders for speaking out against antisemitism, we urge French authorities to take aggressive action to combat all signs of it, and bring the offenders swiftly to justice.

As for French Jews, they must be on the alert – but should be assured that Israel stands by them, and will always be here for them.

Why should we hate Israel?

Back in 1994, I was still a middle school student in a small Kurdistani town called Amadiya, which had been under the control of Saddam Hussein until 1991. I recall our history teacher stepping out of the curriculum line and saying, “Although the books favor Arabs over Jews, history indicates Jews lived in Jerusalem prior to Muslims.”

The teacher got away with this statement because Kurdistan was then outside the control of Saddam. Otherwise, he could have easily been executed for making such a comment to students.

The comment made by our teacher stuck in my head, so I always questioned whether the Arab media conveyed the truth regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This month, I was fortunate to visit Israel. Understanding and analyzing a nation requires profound knowledge. While Israel is far from perfect, I learned there are many reasons to respect the country, and that the portrait of Israelis as portrayed by the Arab media is misleading.

When I arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, the passport control officer separated me from the rest of the travelers and asked me to walk to a corner office where I should wait to be called. I was questioned about my visit to Israel. The officers were very professional and respectful. I did not feel any racism or ill treatment that suggested a predetermined suspicion because of my background. At the end of the questioning, an officer stepped forward with my password and entry permit, saying, “Mr. Amedi, you are good to go.”

When I entered the airport’s main terminal, I noticed many signs in Arabic. “Perhaps it is an international facility, and that could be why Arabic is used,” I thought. One of the first steps in foreign travel is to buy local currency, and I was intrigued that the Israel shekel is printed in Hebrew, Arabic and English!

Did UNC Promote Sarsour Talk by Using Photo of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial?

As I recently reported in the Tower, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) is hosting their Minority Health Conference on February 22, featuring keynote speaker Linda Sarsour. The American-Palestinian activist is known for her hostility towards Israel, having said “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and advising Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis.

Community members are now concerned that the UNC-CH Minority Health Conference may have exploited the Holocaust by using what appears to be a picture of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial to promote the conference on social media. A number of Jewish community members confidently informed me that the image in question, posted to Facebook by the Minority Health Conference on February 19, is of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.

Michael Abramson, Chairman of the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, a state agency organized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, said, “The Holocaust or any Holocaust Memorial commemorating the Holocaust, should not be used as an advertising tool to promote a political event. When an organization invites Linda Sarsour to speak, the organization is opening itself to politicizing its conference.”

A UNC-CH graduate student remarked, “The conference organizers seem to have a definite fixation on Jews and the topic of Israel. One would expect an academic conference on public health to focus on public health.”

Israel-Bashing Group IfNotNow’s Recent Propaganda Video Is One Giant Misrepresentation

Here in the U.S., Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro noted The New York Times’ “stunning admission” last November, wherein the Times plainly conceded that, “it is the varied backgrounds of people who commit hate crimes in the city that make combating and talking about anti-Semitism in New York much harder … bias stemming from longstanding ethnic tensions in the city presents complexities that many liberals have chosen simply to ignore. … When a Hasidic man or woman is attacked by anyone in New York City, mainstream progressive advocacy groups do not typically send out emails calling for concern and fellowship and candlelight vigils in Union Square, as they often do when individuals are harmed in New York because of their race or ethnicity or how they identify in terms of gender or sexual orientation.”

Mayer’s consistent references to Israel’s purportedly illegal “occupation” of Judea and Samaria are similarly highly tendentious, if not outright false. As Elliott Hamilton has argued for The Daily Wire, and Prof. Eugene Kontorovich has painstakingly demonstrated (video below), Israel is not an illegal “occupier” of Judea and Samaria in any legally coherent sense of the term. Israel has, without any question, the soundest legal claim — under international law — to legal possession of Judea and Samaria.

Mayer spends much of the rest of her propagandist screed defending such ignoramuses as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who routinely dabbles in the oldest of all anti-Semitic tropes, and Angela Davis, who The Federalist’s David Harsanyi has accurately described as “a champion of men like Marwan Barghouti, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leader who coordinated suicide bombings targeting Jewish civilians.” Mayer’s defense of outright Jew-haters and their pusillanimous apologists is abhorrent beyond all belief — though, sadly, hardly unexpected.

Put simply, none of Mayer’s claims hold up. But such mendacity is par for the course for IfNotNow.

Throughout history, the Jewish people have so often been their own worst enemy. Today, despicable hate groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow continue this sordid, self-destructive tradition.

Evangelical Christian Leader starts petition for Ilhan Omar’s resignation

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), launched a campaign to demand the immediate resignation of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

“Ilhan Omar recently made some antisemitic statements and has communicated her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” Cardoza-Moore stated.

PJTN aims to “educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish people against the rise of antisemitism,” Cardoza-Moore said in a video released as part of the campaign.

“Ilhan Omar is waging an unholy war against the Jewish people from Congress…She should not be representing Americans,” Cardoza-Moore claimed. “She is about to learn that the Jewish people don’t stand alone, millions of people of faith and conscience stand with the Jewish people. We will neither sleep nor slumber as she uses the heart of American democracy and freedom to defame God’s chosen people and God’s chosen land.”

UK’s Labour suspends activist for anti-Semitic tweet

The UK Labour Party moved to suspend an activist on Wednesday, two days after re-admitting him to its ranks, after the discovery of a tweet he wrote in 2012 calling on British Jews to denounce Israel for its actions against Palestinians, Sky News reported.

Derek Hatton, 71, a former local municipal official in Liverpool where he led an extreme-left wing group, was expelled from the party in 1986 and was severely criticized by then-Labour leader Neil Kinnock for his militancy.

He was readmitted provisionally, pending final approval, on Monday and said it was “good to be back” in a party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

The tweet, now deleted, stated: “Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel,” Sky News reported.

Young Labour chair condemns tweet sent by her own organisation

Young Labour’s chairwoman has said she “utterly condemns” a tweet sent by the @YoungLabourUK twitter account which celebrated the departure of Joan Ryan from Labour.

Ms Ryan, who became the eighth Labour MP to quit the party on Tuesday night, said Jeremy Corbyn’s party had “become infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism.”

Shortly after the announcement, Young Labour sent a Tweet – which has now been deleted – which read: “Joan Ryan Gone – Palestine Lives”.

Miriam Mirwitch, who is Jewish and chairwoman of Young Labour, tweeted from her own Twitter account “to make crystal clear, I did not send the tweet about Joan Ryan from the Young Labour Twitter account and I utterly condemn it.”

Guardian letter claims Jeremy Corbyn is an “ally in the fight against antisemitism”

This week, eight MPs quit the Labour Party, the biggest split in the party since four senior members quit in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party. All the defecting MPs cited antisemitism in the party as one of their reasons for leaving, with several, including MPs Luciana Berger and Joan Ryan, calling the party institutionally and irredeemably antisemitic under Jeremy Corbyn, who a full 85% of British Jews believe is personally antisemitic.

Enter the Guardian, which published a letter yesterday by 200 pro-Corbyn British Jews, in the context of the MP defections.

Here’s an excerpt:
We believe that the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable. His involvement strengthens this struggle.

Evidence of Corbyn’s antisemitism is ubiquitous, and includes: his support for countless anti-Semites and violent antisemitic extremists; his initial defence of an antisemitic mural; his co-sponsoring of a bill to eliminate Holocaust Memorial Day because it was ‘too Jewish’ in its focus; his othering of British Jews as not quite English; and his seeming indifference to the cesspit of antisemitism and antisemitic bullying by Labour activists.

The letter makes another point which requires more analysis:
It is in this context that we welcome the Labour party’s endorsement of freedom of expression on Israel and on the rights of Palestinians. Labour is correct to recognise that while prejudice against Jewish people is deplorable, criticism of Israel’s government and policies can and must be made.

Labour Candidate Claims Anti-Semitism is Being Used as an Anti-Corbyn Plot

Labour’s candidate for Colchester, Tina McKay, has claimed that there is “evidence” Anti-Semitism is being used as a plot against Jeremy Corbyn. Commenting on an Essex University Labour Students post which decried Labour Party’s woeful record on dealing with anti-Semitism, McKay said she “would dispute” the student group’s claims that “Anti-semitism isn’t treated as a real issue.” She went on to say:
“There have been individuals who have said that it has been used as a plot, there is evidence of what they said being true.”

This comes during the week in which over 200 University of Essex students voted against the establishment of a Jewish Society at the university. Dr Maaruf Ali, a lecturer who shared anti-Semitic posts on Facebook including Holocaust denial, campaigned against the establishment of the society writing “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university”. Labour’s candidate wading in to a student Facebook thread to say anti-Semitism is being used to smear Jeremy Corbyn, the week that Jewish students at the university have had to face this kind of abuse is beyond excruciating…

PreOccupiedTerritory: To Undermine Splitters, Corbyn To Join Them (satire)

British political strategists hailed a plan by the Labour Party Chairman to combat the departure of at least eight legislators from his faction’s ranks by resigning from the party as well and joining the new independents, where he will destroy them as he has Labour.

An eighth lawmaker joined the seven MPs who renounced their Labour party membership earlier this week over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership failures, over festering antisemitism within the party and his mishandling of Labour’s approach to Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union, among other grievances. They further voiced frustration at Mr. Corbyn’s inability to mount a suitable alternative to a weak, unpopular Tory prime minister – a point that he now plans to exploit in bringing the Independents to their knees from within.

“Within the next week I will announce my own resignation from Labour,” announced the Opposition leader this morning (Thursday). “I will thus effectively join the other former Labour MPs who have already done so, and, using the experience and skills I have honed and proven over the last four years, I will render that group of independents so riven, so incapable, that they will no longer pose any political threat to Labour.”

Boycotting Israel Doesn’t Help Bring Peace

The movement to boycott, divest and sanction fundamentally misreads the Israeli temperament. When Israelis feel unfairly judged, they push back. Israelis don’t believe their country deserves unique opprobrium. The UN denounces Israel more often than violations in all other countries combined.

Yet rather than eliciting contrition, the resolutions convince Israelis that the international community isn’t motivated by genuine concern for the Palestinians but by hatred for the world’s only Jewish state. Israelis shrug: The Jews have been here before, and we’ll survive this too. Is our flawed democracy more morally offensive than the world’s many dictatorships?

Israelis vehemently reject the notion that their country is primarily responsible for the impasse with the Palestinians. In 2000, when President Clinton proposed a two-state solution, the Israeli government said yes and Palestinian leaders rejected the offer, opting for four years of suicide bombings known as the second intifada. Then in 2005, when Israel unilaterally uprooted its settlements and army bases in Gaza and withdrew to the international border, that withdrawal was met by years of rocket attacks launched from Gaza on Israeli communities.

Israelis believe the conflict is ultimately about the right of a Jewish-majority state to exist in any borders.

German foundation under fire for awarding prize to antisemitic BDS group

The Central Council of Jews in Germany and American Jewish organizations blasted the Roland Röhl Foundation for its decision to award in March a peace prize to a BDS group which is widely considered to be antisemitic.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that “Honoring a group devoted to Israel’s demonization and demise, home to the world’s largest Jewish community, is a horrible attack on Jewry by a German bestower of a ‘peace prize.”’

The group is called Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East and is an energetic supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets the Jewish state.

The nearly 100,000 member Central Council of Jews in Germany classified Jewish Voice as an “antisemitic association,” according to a German DPA wire service report.

Dr. Josef Schuster, the president of the council, wrote a letter last week the city of Göttingen’s Mayor Rolf-Georg Köhler urging him to take a stand against the antisemitism prevalent in the group.

“The association is an active supporter of events of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel,” wrote Schuster, adding “I certainly do not have to explain which historical precursors have had boycotts against Jewish institutions or Jews in Germany, and what associations are created with such actions.”

Essex University probes lecturer who shared Holocaust denial post

A lecturer in Essex is being investigated after a torrent of antisemitic posts was discovered this week, including one denying the Holocaust and another appearing to call for Jihad.

Dr Maaruf Ali, computer and electronics lecturer at the University of Essex, also a volunteer for St John Ambulance Service, opposed the creation of a Jewish Society on campus this week.

In a Facebook post, he wrote: “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university”.

Among the posts discovered, one read: “In all of German-occupied Europe, there resided 2,4 million Jews before the war, according to the World Jewish Encyclopedia.

“After the war, 3.8 million Jewish “Holocaust survivors” were receiving pensions from the German government.

“Tragically, the remaining six million were lost.”

Syracuse University: Granting Credits to Students Interning With BDS Group Doesn’t Mean Endorsing Its Goals

Syracuse University in New York responded on Tuesday to reports that students might receive credits for interning with a local organization that promotes boycotts of Israel, saying the arrangement did not imply that the university endorsed the group.

The controversy surrounding the Syracuse Peace Council (SPC) emerged after an SU student, Justine Murray, attended an off-campus event it hosted last month, in which some SPC members claimed that the US-designated Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas did “a lot of good”; denounced Zionism, a diverse movement that supports the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination, as racism; and claimed that fighting such “a racist ideology and sometimes with violence might be the answer for some people.”

The SPC — listed as one of 14 “internship sites” available to SU students majoring in Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition, each of which offers three credits and a letter grade — has also endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The movement says it seeks to redefine Israel “as a pariah state” until it complies with international law, while critics — including major Jewish groups in the United States and globally — denounce it as discriminatory in its tactics and objectives.

Michele Wheatly, SU provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, reaffirmed the school’s rejection of boycotts targeting Israeli academia in a statement on Tuesday, and acknowledged that “inflammatory comments about Israel and Palestinian groups were made by several speakers” at the SPC event, which was not sponsored by the university.

Anti-Israel BDS boycott campaign returns to Cornell

A coalition of student groups led by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is renewing a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) effort at Cornell University, where I teach.

We have documented here many times how BDS has a direct connection to the anti-Jewish boycotts in the 1920s and 1930s in the then British Mandate for Palestine, the anti-Jewish boycott of the Arab League (which was put in place three years prior to Israeli’s independence), and the gross antisemitic activism at the 2001 Tehran and Durban conferences which launched boycotts in the current form.

The claim that BDS was a response to a 2005 call from Palestinian civil society is a demonstrable lie. That was the cover story to repackage an anti-Jewish boycott in the language of ‘social justice’, as documented in my lecture, The REAL history of the BDS movement.
2014 BDS Attempt Failed

There is a long history of BDS efforts trying to stop Cornell’s ties with The Technion in developing a tech campus in New York City. BDS supporters on campus tried to stop Cornell from entering into the joint venture, as we documented in 2012:

They failed. Miserably. The emerging Cornell Tech campus is the jewel not only of the high tech community in NYC, but also of the greater Cornell community which is integrating educational offerings between Ithaca and the NYC campus.

Rabab Abdulhadi Protests SFSU Observing Israeli Independence Day

San Francisco State University (SFSU) professor Rabab Abdulhadi never misses an opportunity to convey her favorite bigoted slogan, “Zionists Not Welcome on Campus!” This time, it was emblazoned on signs and dutifully repeated by one of her acolytes (a Filipino student who’s convinced the US is subjecting the Southern Philippines to martial law and daily bombings) at a campus protest of SFSU classifying Israeli Independence Day as a religious holiday.

Although describing the holiday as religious turns out to have been a “clerical error,” Abdulhadi demanded not only that SFSU remove it from the list, but that it be replaced with Muslim holidays Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr. She also insisted that SFSU issue an apology to “Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims,” and “other marginalized communities,” including Jews “who refuse to let Israel speak in their name.”

In sum, the protest wasn’t really about the classification, but about anything related to Israel being treated in a positive, or even neutral, manner.

BBC report on antisemitism in France marred by its own record

Readers may recall that this is not the first time that Mr Macron has addressed the issue of anti-Zionism: he previously did so in July 2017.

““We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism,” Macron said an event in Paris marking the mass deportation of French Jews during World War II.”

As documented here, the BBC chose to sideline that statement at the time and subsequently failed to report a similar one made by the UN Secretary General. Two days after Mr Macron’s 2017 statement, BBC Radio Ulster held a phone-in presented as follows:

“We debate the very controversial claim by the French president that anti-Zionism is simply another form of anti-Semitism”

Now that the BBC has got round to accurately reporting Mr Macron’s position on anti-Zionism it is worth taking a look at what its audiences have been told about that subject to date.

Although the BBC does not work according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism (which was adopted by the British government in 2016), in April 2016 it nevertheless considered itself sufficiently qualified to produce a backgrounder titled “What’s the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?“.

Germany insists no former Nazi SS getting war pensions in Belgium

German authorities said Wednesday no former Nazi SS soldiers are receiving disability pensions in Belgium, responding to concerns raised by lawmakers there.

The Labor Ministry said that 18 people in Belgium are receiving war disability pensions, but “there are no former members of the Waffen SS” among them. “They may be Belgian nationals or, for example, German nationals who have settled in Belgium,” the ministry said.

In a note to AFP, the ministry said the funds “are paid out by the North Rhine-Westphalia regional government.”

The ministry checked records after the Belgian parliament’s foreign affairs commission responded to concerns voiced by lawmakers on Tuesday, agreeing “the Belgian government should ask Germany to end pensions for Belgian Nazi collaborators.”

When they were established in a 1951 law by West Germany, some 4.4 million people, both civilian and military, qualified for “victims of war” pensions.

In 1998, a law was passed to revoke the pensions for those found to have participated in “crimes against the principles of humanity.”

A review in 2016 found only 99 had been removed through 2013.

Coventry University Dodgeball Team suspended over “Jews deserved it” and swastika antisemitic t-shirt decoration party

Coventry University Dodgeball Team is under fire for hosting a white t-shirt party in which students elected to emblazon their t-shirts with antisemitic emblems and the slogan “The Jews deserved it.” This follows prior incidents at Lancaster, Plymouth and Newcastle.

On 6th February, Coventry University Dodgeball Team was photographed at Empire nightclub at what appears to have been a white t-shirt party, a party in which participants don plain white t-shirts and write messages on each other’s shirts. In this case, some members of the team decided to scrawl antisemitic remarks and a swastika.

The team has been suspended by Coventry University Students’ Union, after being reported to the university by the President of Coventry University Jewish Society.

In a joint statement, the Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students said: “We expect appropriate action to be taken to demonstrate that such behaviour is unacceptable.” Tochukwu Ajare, President of Coventry University Students’ Union issued a response promising: “We do not tolerate antisemitism or any form of hate crime. We will fully support the university in any disciplinary action it may take.”

Kim Kardashian to spend three days in Israel next month

Kim Kardashian West will spend three days in March in Israel promoting her new line of sunglasses for the Israeli company Carolina Lemke.

The Israeli-based eyewear brand – partially owned by Bar Refaeli – announced on Thursday that Kardashian West will be in Israel from March 19-21. The supermodel and reality TV star will use the opportunity to unveil the range of glasses, which she designed for the Israeli brand.

“Carolina Lemke really allowed me to express myself,” said Kardashian West in a statement from the company. “Together we designed this collection from the beginning. I wanted to create a range of sunglasses, frames with a fashionable statement as well as more classic frames, because I always felt that fashion should be varied. This collection is for everyone, and everyone should feel like they’re part of the conversation.”

Israel’s Wix.com Fourth-Quarter Profit Up, Sees 25% Revenue Growth in 2019

Wix.com, which helps small businesses build and operate websites, posted higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and forecast a 25 percent rise in revenue in 2019.

It reported on Wednesday a net profit of 42 cents per share excluding one-time items, up from 16 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 39 percent to $164 million.

Analysts had forecast adjusted profit of 33 cents a share on revenue of $162 million, I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv showed.

Israel-based Wix offers free basic features for setting up websites but users must pay for extra services such as shopping carts, individual web addresses and site traffic analysis.

The company has 142 million registered users. During the quarter it added 147,000 paid users to reach 4 million premium customers, up 24 percent from the end of 2017.

Meet the Sea Squirt, Sucking Up Plastic Particles From the Sea

A rubbery sea creature with an irritating habit of clinging to ships and invading beaches could help measure plastic pollution as it can filter tiny particles from the ocean and store them in its soft tissue.

Israeli researchers have found that ascidians — round, palm-sized animals also known as sea squirts can thrive in dirty industrial areas and pristine waters alike, allowing them to detect and analyze waste and its impact in various regions.

A staggering amount of plastic flows into the ocean each year. The United Nations says it is as if a garbage truck full of plastic was dumped into the water every minute, a rate some estimates show could lead to oceans carrying more plastic than fish in 30 years.

But the long-term impact of the waste, particularly tiny pieces called microplastic, is still not fully understood.

“[Sea squirts] just sit in one place all their life and filter the water, like a pump,” said Gal Vered of Tel Aviv University, and who co-published the researchers’ findings in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

“They can really give us a picture of what the whole reef, the whole ecosystem felt during its life.”

Israel’s first moon mission set for liftoff from Florida

Israel’s first spacecraft designed to land on the moon is set to blastoff from Florida on Thursday night (early Friday Israel time) in the first privately-funded lunar mission, as the Jewish state seeks to become only the fourth nation to reach the surface of Earth’s natural satellite.

The unmanned robotic explorer named Beresheet – Hebrew for the word “Genesis” – was due for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:45 p.m. EST (01:45 GMT Friday) atop a Falcon 9 rocket launched by the California-based entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The 1,290-pound (585 kg), dishwasher-sized lander was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries with $100 million furnished almost entirely by private donors.

If the launch is successful, Beresheet is due to arrive on the near side of the moon in April following a two-month journey through 4 million miles (6.5 million kilometers) of space.

SpaceIL said they hoped Beresheet will help inspire Israel’s defense-focused space program to pursue more science missions by way of an “Apollo effect,” referring to the manned lunar exploration program that became NASA’s chief purpose in the 1960s and early ’70s.

The United States, the former Soviet Union and China are the only three nations to date to have achieved controlled “soft” landings of spacecraft on the lunar surface.



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