Yulia Karra
February 6

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) announced that it will award its Distinguished Service Award to Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, the first Israeli to ever receive the honor.

The IAF is a Paris-based space advocacy organization that works to facilitate cooperation between international space associations. IAF members in Israel include the Association for Aerospace Sciences in Israel, the Israel Space Agency, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

Ben-Israel heads the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He served as the chairman of the Israel Space Agency between 2005 and 2022. 

He also held a series of senior positions in the Israeli Air Force and headed the Directorate for Defense Research and Development and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT), which is part of the Defense Ministry.

In 2007, he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the now-defunct Kadima party. Twelve years ago, Ben-Israel became a lifetime member of the IAF. 

The prize will be awarded to the Israeli professor for his “outstanding contribution to space sciences” in general and “to the advancement of the International Astronautical Federation” in particular. He is scheduled to receive the award at IAF’s annual spring meeting in March.

“This is … similar to a lifetime achievement award. Space isn’t something I’ve just come across by chance recently, but it’s still nice to be recognized,” Ben-Israel said.

IAF President Clay Mowry added: “It is a true honor for us to attribute this award to you because you have been for many years an active contributor to the federation’s success.” 

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