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Thu. Sep 1, 2016 News from Israel

  • Israeli satellite Amos 6 explodes on Falcon 9 rocket in Cape Canaveral Florida
  • Israel Police recommends to close probe against opposition leader Isaac Herzog
  • New school year starts in Israel for over 2 million students

A rocket carrying an Israeli communications satellite exploded on its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday, destroying the $85 million device. The Israel Space Agency said in a statement that during the fueling of the missile launcher, an explosion occurred that led to the satellite's total loss, which will have a substantial effect on the Agency. The Falcon 9, a rocket manufactured by Elon Musk's private aerospace company SpaceX, disappeared from view in the explosion, which was felt from miles away. The Amos 6 satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and owned by Spacecom Ltd., was heading into space for a 16-year mission that was meant to serve Facebook, bring Internet connectivity to Africa and television service to providers in Europe and the Middle East. In a statement, Israel Aerospace industries (IAI) said that Amos 6 was the "most advanced" satellite ever built in Israel by IAI and the Israel Space Agency (ISA).

The Israel Police announced on Thursday that the investigation into opposition leader Isaac Herzog would be closed. Herzog was being investigated for receiving illegal donations during the 2013 Labor Party primary campaign. The suspicion was that Herzog received illegal donations and failed to report them during his 2013 primary campaign against MK Shelly Yachimovich. The Israel Police added that the findings of the investigation did not lead to any evidence that could implicate Herzog. In addition, the Israel Police said that the findings of the investigation would be handed over to the Tel Aviv District Prosecution’s Office. The prosecutors would review the material and make a decision regarding the matter.

A political storm took place on Thursday inside and outside the government because of what is emerging as a dramatic compromise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the ultra-Orthodox coalition MKs and their demands regarding the infrastructure work conducted by Israel Railways. Netanyahu ordered that 17 of the 20 tasks planned for this weekend be canceled , except for three projects considered as essential, and that could endanger human life. cancellation of these tasks may lead to significant delays in maintenance projects along the train rails and cause an estimated damage of millions of dollars.

Over 2.2 million students and 180,000 teaching staff members returned to Israeli schools and preschools on Thursday morning for the start of the new school year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett opened the start of the new school year by visiting several schools throughout Israel. The two started the day at the Arab-Israeli Tamra Ha’emek Elementary School. President Reuven Rivlin opened the start of the new school year at Kiryat Bialik’s Psagot School.

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