New program could yield next Israeli astronaut

Click photo to download. Caption: Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut. Credit: NASA.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Science and technology education for Israeli students in peripheral areas is about to get a huge boost. The Negev and Galilee Development Ministry, along with World ORT’s “Kadima Mada” science and technology education program, is launching a new NIS 15 million ($3.7 million) program in Kiryat Gat, Nazareth, Safed, Dimona and Nahariya to expand students’ knowledge in the areas of space and astronomy, physics, medicine, genetics and the arts.

Leading research institutions and industrial companies, such as the Weizmann Institute of Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University, Machon Lev-Jerusalem College of Technology, Micron Industries and others, have contributed to the new project. They hope that the program will enable students in the country’s periphery to study at institutions of higher learning, obtain research positions and work in knowledge-based industries. 

The project is open to all students, not just advanced or excelling students; those with learning disabilities will also be included. Vice Prime Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom said, “Education is the mirror for the country. This type of cooperation in the area of education strengthens the ministry’s ability to invest in children from the periphery, from the north to the south.” 

Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, died in NASA’s fatal 2003 Columbia mission.

Posted on September 5, 2012 .