Israel’s president hails ‘new era’ in space exploration at UAE conference

Israel’s space program, Herzog said, has brought it closer to countries across the world, adding that its increasing cooperation with the Emirates will lead to greater regional prosperity.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed a space conference in the United Arab Emirates Monday, as he continues his tour of Gulf Arab states.

President Herzog arrived in the UAE Monday morning, following a state visit to Bahrain, and was received on the tarmac by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Ahead of his meeting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the royal palace, Herzog addressed the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, delivering the keynote speech.

The conference, hosted by Sheikh bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brought together national and industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the global space economy.

In his address, Herzog touted Israel’s warming ties with Bahrain and the Emirates since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, and predicted a leap forward in space exploration.

“I am very happy to be here and take part in this timely debate, under the auspices of my dear friend, President Mohammed bin Zayed. I have just arrived from Bahrain with my wife, Michal, where we conducted the first State Visit of an Israeli president in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and I am extremely grateful to His Majesty the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.”

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“We stand here 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 breathtaking images from the James Webb Telescope, for example, not only take us to the earliest reaches of our cosmos. They also raise the prospect of new scientific questions we didn’t even know we might be able to ask.”

“But as humanity gazes up at the stars, I wish to bring this discussion back to earth; because I believe that the greatest promise of space exploration lies not only in discoveries on distant planets, but also in rediscovering our potential for collaboration, here on the blue planet we call home.”

Israel’s space program, Herzog said, has brought it closer to countries across the world, adding that its increasing cooperation with the Emirates will lead to greater regional prosperity.

“It is often said that on international space missions, on the first day astronauts point at their countries; on the second day, they point at their continents, and by the third day, they are aware only of one Earth. Hundreds of kilometers 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.

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“There is no doubt that in the future, the fate of humanity will depend on outer space. But in the immediate present, the ultimate value of space technologies lies in saving the planet we already have.”

“I am proud of Israel’s close cooperation with NASA, the European Space Agency, and our counterparts in France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and many other countries. But I am especially proud of our evolving space partnership with the United Arab Emirates. Our two countries are boldly leading our region toward new frontiers in space and leaving our mark on history,” he continued.

“For an inspiring example, look no further than the Venus satellite, a joint Israeli-French project, which is now providing data for joint Israeli-Emirati research. The Venus satellite has been circling Earth closely monitoring vegetation in forests, croplands, and nature reserves, and beaming back multi-spectral 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.

“Today, it is therefore critical that we deepen and expand such transnational partnerships, for the benefit of our planet and our region, and here comes India with its immense technology capabilities, with the wisdom of its people, and its extremely impressive space program.

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“As we look forward toward the international climate conference COP28 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 Mediterranean. Our cooperation can turn our beautiful region into a global hub of climate solutions. I believe that the UAE and Israel and India can lead the way for the entire region, together with our friends and partners.

“We are all deeply impressed by the accomplishments of the UAE’s space program, including the Mars Mission. It is a perfect match with Israel, a world leader in technologies for miniature satellites, high resolution and remote sensing capabilities, and cybersecurity in space.”