At the Abu Dhabi Space Debate in the United Arab Emirates this week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog touted the ties between Israel and the UAE when it comes to space exploration.
“Our two countries are boldly leading our region toward new frontiers in space and leaving our mark on history. We must work together to harness the power of advanced space technologies to address the urgent climate crisis in the Middle East and Mediterranean,” said Herzog. “Our cooperation can turn our beautiful region into a global hub of climate solutions. 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.”
Last year, the UAE became the first Arab nation, and the fifth country overall, to reach Mars. Israel has yet to launch a mission to Mars, but hopefully will do so in the bear future.
Indeed. After all, Israel has become more of a player in the realm of space exploration. While Israel fell short of successfully landing an unmanned lunar lander and probe, called Beresheet – the first book in the Torah that translates to Genesis – it was a success nonetheless as it is difficult to land on the moon.
Given that Israel has shelved plans to retry, Israel should take a shot and launch a lander and probe on Mars. Israel is a global leader in science and Mars exploration is an attractive endeavor. Mars could be a solution to overpopulation on Earth, though that is far from certain. Israel should help further research on Mars to see if human life is possible there.
However, Israel shouldn’t have to go to Mars alone. The Abraham Accords, which Herzog celebrated while in the UAE, has presented countless opportunities – demonstrating the benefits of peace – and this should extend to joint cooperation on space exploration. Israel and the UAE should sign an MOU on this front to not only do missions to Mars but also to the moon.
“We have an enormous opportunity to examine, define and seek potential resolutions to some of the challenges facing our sector. The impacts of these challenges will be felt way beyond the space sector and have the potential to touch people’s everyday lives around the world,” said Sarah Al Amiri, the UAE’s Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, and the Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency. “I believe at least some of them to be potentially existential to our peaceful and collaborative exploration of the limitless potential of space. But I also believe the impacts go beyond that – to truly define the limitless potential of humanity.
“There is currently no global forum where regulators, governments, space commands, agencies, the private sector and academics can come together and take a holistic view of the development of this vital sector. This is where we believe the Abu Dhabi Space Debate has a key and valuable contribution to make in order to further define the development of our sector.”
Israel and the UAE aren’t the only Abraham Accords members to seek joint cooperation on space exploration. Bahrain also wants to be in the mix.
“Space, with its opportunities and challenges is an issue that affects every country in the world and every human being, one which cries out for genuine international cooperation and one in which we risk replicating existing geopolitical rivalries,” said Bahrani Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani. “No country, no matter how large, has the capacity to exploit the opportunities of space exploration by itself. The costs involved and the range of specialties make international cooperation essential to reach goals that can’t be reached alone.”
Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and the United States should jointly cooperate when it comes to space. If the Abraham Accords can create a new day in the Middle East here on Earth, it can surely enable exploring the next frontier on a united front.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jackson Richman (@JacksonRichman) is a journalist in Washington, D.C. He is a writer for Mediaite and a contributor to The Washington Examiner. His work has also been featured in The Weekly Standard, The Daily Caller.