Group behind ‘Jewish Nobel’ to donate £770k to next Israeli space mission

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Group behind ‘Jewish Nobel’ to donate £770k to next Israeli space mission

Genesis Prize Foundation make announcement it is backing Beresheet 2 project on Israel's independence Day, Yom Ha'atzmaut

Beresheet! (Credit: SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries)
Beresheet! (Credit: SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries)

The foundation behind a prize known as the Jewish Nobel has said it will give £768,000 ($1 million) to the next Israeli space mission, after a failed attempt to land on the moon earlier last month.

The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF), the philanthropic fund of several wealthy Russian-speaking Jewish oligarchs, this week said it would back Beresheet 2, announcing the support on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day).

“This grant deviates from our traditional philanthropy, which focuses on one initiative each year in partnership with our laureates,” said GPF co-founder Stan Polovets.

“But in its essence, support of Beresheet 2 is exactly why we established our foundation: to inspire the Jewish people, to strengthen the bond between Israel and the Diaspora, and to instil a sense of pride in Israel’s achievements.”

GPF is the first foundation to announce support for Beresheet 2 after Israel-based philanthropists Morris Kahn and Sylvan Adams said they would plough money into a second effort.

Beresheet was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida in February and was due to land on the surface of the moon in April, but on its lunar descent the engine unexpectedly shut down for several seconds, so the craft failed to slow sufficiently.

Earlier this week, the Israel Space Agency committed 10 million shekels (£2.7 million) to the second attempt. The first cost nearly $100 million and was mostly funded by donors.

The results of an investigation into the crash will be published later this month.

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