The International Astronautical Federation announced over the weekend, that Israel
was chosen to host the 2015 annual Astronautic
convention, during its congress meeting in Napoli, Italy.
The Israeli Space Agency's proposal was favored by more than half of the federation member-nations, beating the Thai and Mexican proposals.
"The Israeli proposal emphasized its uniqueness and Jerusalem's
special character, as well as the government support in hosting the convention," said a statement by the Science and Technology
Amongst the proposal's advocators were President Shimon Peres,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
Knesset members, the Supreme Court,
Science and Technology Ministry officials, the Tourism and Foreign ministries and the City of Jerusalem.
The Federation mentioned the enhanced academic space research performed in Israel and the vast government support in hosting the convention, as the main reasons for the decision.
In order to qualify as host, the Israel Space Administration had to ensure certain criteria, including a wide range of infrastructures, nearby hotels and hosting facilities, attractiveness of the hosting city and security regulations.
Israeli communication satellite (Photo: Space Communications)
"I'm delighted to have our great efforts of bringing the convention to Jerusalem proved successful," said Prof. Daniel Herskovits, minister of science and technology.
He mentioned most member-nations expressed their support in holding the convention in Israel, it being "an honorable achievement, reflecting Israel's unique place as a power nation on the international space field.
Herskovits also referred to the thousands of visitors expected to attend the conference, hoping they would later become "Israel's ambassadors for space and tourism."
"The proposal took a whole year to put together, and we've worked on it extensively to fully stand in line with the federation's standards. The proofs of our efforts speak for itself, and would hopefully promote space research both academically and industrially," said Israeli Space Administration Manager Menachem Kidron.
Prof. Itzhak Ben Israel, head of the Israeli Space Agency said that "Israel being elected to host the conference comes to show its increased international reorganization as a space power, and would have a tremendous effect on the Israeli space industry."
The International Astronautical Federation is the largest international space organization, with over 250 nations and institutes as its members.
The annual astronautic convention takes place in October and is hosted by a different country every year. It attracts over 3,000 scientists, heads of space agencies, and other space experts from around the world.