Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to make sure that the Bible is present when Israel is finally successful in its attempts to land on the moon. It is important the Bible is there because, says Netanyahu, it is the source of the creativity and determination that have led to the Israelis coming close to landing on the moon at all.
“We [will land on the moon] through initiative, determination and daring—given to us by our spirit,” said the prime minister as reported by The Times of Israel. “And our spirit comes from the Bible. That’s not just words. That spirit comes from the Bible, because there’s no meaning to the enormous journey we have made to return to our land, to our birthplace, if we had not carried with us our faith, our tradition and our yearning for the homeland.”
No Successful Landing—Yet
So far, the only countries that have been able to land on the moon are the U.S., China and the Soviet Union. If Israel does become the fourth country to make a successful lunar landing, it will be the smallest nation to achieve that feat.
Israel did recently come close to accomplishing its goal on Thursday, April 11, in a privately funded venture that cost $100 million.
Had the mission been successful, it would have been the first privately funded lunar landing. However, shortly before the spacecraft, the Beresheet (Hebrew for “in the beginning”), landed, its engine cut out.
The engine did come back on, but ground control lost communication, and the craft ended up crashing on the moon’s surface. The Times of Israel reports that the mission’s failure was due to “complications resulting from a gyroscope failure.”
Morris Kahn, who initiated the venture and contributed to nearly a third of its cost, said, “I think that the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous; I think we can be proud.”
Phil Larson, a former space adviser during the Obama administration, said that the Beresheet’s failure demonstrates that “space is still extremely hard, and landing human made objects on other worlds is an utmost challenge.” Still he noted, “overall it was a path-breaking and innovative project.”
Honoring the One Who ‘Established’ the Moon
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke Thursday at the International Bible Quiz for Youth, an event held every year on Israel’s Independence Day. He said, “Last month we felt tremendous excitement: The spacecraft Beresheet was a hand’s breadth from the moon.”
Netanyahu said that while the Beresheet had contained a digital copy of the Bible, that was “not enough.” It is likely that the spacecraft for the next mission will contain a hard copy of the scriptures. Said the prime minister, “I want the Bible to land on the moon, because it is written [in Psalms 8:4], ‘When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have established.’”
Kahn has said that he is already pursuing the next attempt at a successful mission: “We started something and we need to finish it. We’ll put our flag on the moon.”