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The Persol Foundation and the SpaceIL association have selected the candidates who will be integrated into a joint program to empower women in the field of space.

Two of them will be integrated into the development of the Genesis 2 mission which is expected to be launched in 2025

From the right, Shimon Sherid from the association's director, Or Netaf, Sahar Peretz, Julia Saleh, Ruth Persol and Lee Alpert. Photo: Eran Akerman
From the right, Shimon Sherid from the association's director, Or Netaf, Sahar Peretz, Julia Saleh, Ruth Persol and Lee Alpert. Photo: Eran Akerman

The Parasol Foundation and the SpaceIL Association announced at the beginning of the year, during Space Week, a joint program under the title "Parasol Foundation Women in SpaceIL", which was established out of a desire to empower women in the field of engineering and space research and to encourage the next generation to choose academic courses relevant to the fields of space. As part of the program, scholarships amounting to approximately $500 will be awarded, as part of the foundation's total donation of $2 million to the association's Genesis2 mission SpaceIL.

After several months of screening dozens of women starting their careers in the field, the 5 women who will be included in the project were chosen:

Michal Pushkov, and Sahar Peretz, young female engineers, began working at SpaceIL on the development of the Genesis 2 mission that will be launched to the moon in 2025, and will conduct new scientific experiments and educational missions. Their integration will ensure that more women will be involved with groundbreaking projects like this from the start of their careers.

Julia Saleh and Or Netef, graduate students from the Technion whose research is in the field of space, will receive scholarships to advance their research, on the discovery of astrophysical gamma rays and research on the landing of space vehicles on the moon, respectively.

and Dr. Neta Falkowitz, a lawyer specializing in space law and space policy. Netta will be awarded a scholarship for her postdoctoral research focusing on legal and regulatory aspects of sustainability issues in space.

The fields of science and space in particular are characterized by the underrepresentation of women. The Persol Foundation together with the SpaceIL association founded the program in order to allow young women an opportunity to develop in the field, and to inspire more women to join a career in the field of scientific professions.

According to Ruth Persol, Karen Persol: "I am excited to collaborate with SpaceIL and create opportunities for talented women to be involved and contribute to the Israeli and global effort in the field of space. We provide scholarships to empower and inspire women and help them realize their potential, and with the program, we aim to create a legacy for generations. I am very proud of the extraordinary and diverse group of women who joined the Parasol Foundation Women in SpaceIL program. They have already proven that they know how to overcome challenges and I am sure that they will continue to cross borders, contribute to the progress of global space and inspire young women to follow in their footsteps."

According to Shimon Sharid, CEO SpaceIL:  "Besides our scientific ambitions in the Genesis 2 mission, which we are working on with full vigor these days, we are acting according to the main commitment for which the association was founded, which is to inspire the younger generation, to be interested in science, space and technology, while emphasizing gender diversity. I congratulate the women who joined the program and wish them much success. We are happy to cooperate with the Persol Foundation for the benefit of advancing women in the field of space in Israel."

Kafir Demari, founder and deputy CEO added: "In the Genesis 1 program and also today in Genesis 2, there are talented and amazing engineers leading the construction of the spacecraft. I wish success to all the women selected for the program and hope that they, together with the engineers of the SpaceIL association, will continue to be a model for inspiration and imitation for girls in Israel and around the world."

Keren Persol Founded by Ruth Persol, the main donor who serves as the Trustee and leads the distribution of grants. The foundation was established in Gibraltar in 2004 and since then, has made significant contributions of over £30 million to health, heritage and education issues in Israel, the USA, Gibraltar, the UK, India, Spain and elsewhere. As a reminder, the Persol Foundation was among the donors to the Beresheet 1 spacecraft's journey to the Beresheet moon in 2019, and also contributed to the Beresheet 2 journey to the moon planned for 2025.  

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