(JTA) – The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space voted to accept Israel as a full member.
The vote Thursday, in which the southern African nation of Namibia was the only country that voted against Israel’s acceptance, was hailed by the Israeli government as a diplomatic achievement, the i24 news channel reported.
Hadas Meitzad, Israel’s counsellor for economic and social affairs at the United Nations, described Israel’s membership in the committee as an “important victory for Israeli diplomacy.”
Syria, which joined the committee in 1980, lobbied at the United Nations against Israeli acceptance, i24 reported.
Israel’s “advanced capabilities,” Meitzad said in a statement, “its commercial space industry, combined with a complex and sensitive diplomatic process, led to the acceptance of Israel to the prestigious organization.”
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, or COPUOS, has 77 member states and was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity.
On Oct. 13, NASA and the Israel Space Agency signed an agreement to expand cooperation in civil space activities.
The Israel Space Agency expressed hope that the Jewish state’s technology would play a key role in future missions to Mars.