Science and Technology Ministry officials dedicated a “space center” in memory of the late astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon, in the Arab city of Taiba on Tuesday.

The Taiba Space Center was set up jointly by the ministry, the Ramon Foundation and the Prime Minister’s Office to serve residents of the Galilee Triangle for study, experimentation and enrichment in the field of space and the sciences.

Science and Technology Minister Prof. Daniel Herschkowitz hinted at criticism from MK Ahmed Tibi and others over the center in Taiba being named for a Jewish hero.

“Ilan Ramon was the first Israeli astronaut in space and ‘everybody’s astronaut.’ For me, dedicating a center in the Arab community is the fulfillment of a dream. There are things that are stronger than any politics, and that is the understanding that we are here together building one society and state. We are proud that with these centers, we bring the language of science and peace to all parts of the country,” Herschkowitz said.

He said the center’s name will remain as planned in memory of the astronaut who died along with six others in the re-entry accident of the Columbia space shuttle.

The new center is one of several the ministry has established in recent years on the periphery and in Arab towns. A similar center already exists in Yarka, as well as there are two others in the Arab sector. More are planned, Herschkowitz said.

Their purpose, he said, is to deepen the scientific and technological know-how of residents of all ages so they can find work in related professions. The center is well equipped with a planetarium, sun and optical telescopes and a star projector.

It is headed by Halawi Muataz, director of the National Lottery Center in Taiba.

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