World’s First Jewish-Arab Space and Science Center Launched
Three...two...one...blastoff! On January 28th, NASA chief administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden, Jr. and 200 guests launched Moona – a Space for Change in the Arab Israeli town of Sakhnin. Moona (“wish” in Arabic) will be the world's first Jewish-Arab center for the development of scientific, environmental, and space-related social and business initiatives.
The project began when entrepreneur and shared society activist Asaf Brimer approached SHATIL. Brimer proposed a cooperative project with the Towns Association for Environmental Quality (TAEQ). Dr. Hussein Tarabeih, who heads TAEQ, also had a dream of creating a hub for science education and socio-economic initiatives. SHATIL facilitated the development of the project as well as collaboration among the different parties.
At the launch, Bolden told the Jewish and Arab science students in attendance: "They [space shuttle astronauts of different races, cultures, and nationalities] all connect, which means that we can also do that on the ground and in this way, you can act and succeed."
Housed in TAEQ's unique green building in Sakhnin, Moona will be an interdisciplinary center for research and implementation of solar energy technologies and will house advanced astrophysics laboratories as well as community digital labs for research into environmental and water issues. The Center will develop activities and courses for Jewish and Arab children, teens, and adults in the fields of education, community, business, and environmental sustainability, and will provide practical tools for the development of local sustainable economic initiatives.
Moona is a partnership of the Towns Association for Environmental Quality, the Galilee Development Authority, Zionism 2000, SHATIL and, of course, Asaf Brimer.
The event received wide press coverage, including English language articles in the Huffington Post and Ynet.