Israel, UAE leading region to new frontiers in space: President Herzog

He highlighted the importance of leveraging the power of transnational cooperation and collaboration while pointing out the fruitful partnership with the Emirates


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 6:48 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Dec 2022, 10:21 PM

Israel and the UAE are leading the region towards new frontiers in space and leaving a mark on history, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said during the Abu Dhabi Space Debate.

In his address during the opening ceremony of the inaugural event, Herzog underlined that the world stands on the brink of a “revolutionary new era” of space exploration.

“The heavens are now open to a dizzying array of public and private actors, launching satellites, sensors and spacecraft into the great unknown. This creates both paradigm shifting opportunities, and challenges unlike those humanity has ever known. The greatest promise of space exploration lies not only in discoveries on distant planets, but also in rediscovery of potentials for collaboration here on the blue planet we call home.”

Herzog highlighted the importance of leveraging the power of transnational cooperation and collaboration and pointed out the fruitful partnership with the UAE.

“I’m proud of Israel’s close cooperation with NASA, with the European Space Agency, and our counterparts in France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Austria, and many other countries. But I’m especially proud of our evolving states partnership with the UAE. Our two countries are boldly leading our region towards new frontiers in space and leaving our mark on history.”

Talking about bilateral joint initiatives and its proven benefits, he pointed out that the Vegetation and Environment Monitoring New Micro Satellite (VENµS), a joint Israeli-French project, is currently providing data for joint Israeli and Emirati research.

“The VENµS satellite has been circling Earth, closely monitoring vegetation and forest cropland and nature reserves, and beaming back multispectral images. In their first joint venture, the Israeli and Emirati space agencies are now funding a joint analysis of this data by Israeli and Emirati scientists, which will help us better understand our global environment and collaborate on new solutions to protect our planet’s green lungs,” Herzog said and noted that it is “critical to deepen and expand” transnational partnerships for the benefit of region and the planet at large.

“It is often said that on international space missions, on the first day, astronauts find out about their countries. On the second day, they point to other continents. And by the third day, there was only one Earth. Hundreds of kilometres above land, borders disappear, and are replaced by an intense awareness that we all share one Earth, which we all have a common duty to preserve. And just as borders disappear when Earth is viewed from above, we must work together across these divides to combat the climate crisis, a threat to us all.”

Impressed by the UAE’s achievement in space programmes, he said: “It (the UAE) is a perfect match with Israel, a world leader in technologies for miniature satellites, high resolution and remote sensing capabilities, and cyber security in space. This is a wonderful opportunity.”

Herzog stressed on investments into space education and highlighted how the local programme introduced at schools has resulted in building, testing and launching nano satellites into space, and then using them to gather data and conduct experiments.

“Israel invites all the countries here to work with us to expand this programme regionally, and internationally. Together, we will harness the collective creativity, genius and wonder of our youth.”

Spotlight on COP28

Herzog underlined that Israel, the UAE and India can lead the way in turning the region into a hub of climate solutions.


“And here comes India with its immense technology capabilities, with the wisdom of its people, and an extremely impressive space programme. As we look forward to the international world climate conference known as COP28, which will be held in the UAE, we must work together to harness the power of advanced space technologies to address the urgent climate crisis in the Middle East and then the majority Mediterranean. Our cooperation can turn our beautiful region into a global hub of climate solutions. And I believe that the UAE and Israel and India can lead the way for the entire region together with our friends and partners.”

Abu Dhabi Space Debate serves as a unique platform for global space leadership. Organised by the UAE Space Agency, with the participation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Ministry of Defence, the event sees participation from top leaders from the space sector. They will discuss the space industry’s most pressing challenges and find ways to drive the new space economy.

Thanking UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for hosting the event, Herzog added: “It has offered an excellent contribution to the global dialogue on space, and has helped us forge a joint pathway to a brighter future. Let us harness the power of space for the promise of earth. Let us gaze at the heavens with our sights set firmly on our planet. Today, we can say the sky is just a lower limit.”

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