Israelis swelled with pride overnight as many woke in the predawn hours to watch the Beresheet lunar spacecraft lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida atop a SpaceX rocket.
Among them was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who appeared to be just as full of wonderment and awe as any Israeli at what this nation has achieved.
Beresheet will take a deliberately long route to the moon, reaching its destination on or around April 11. A successful lunar surface touchdown will make Israel only the fourth nation ever to accomplish such a feat.
As one of the commenters on a YouTube clip of the launch noted, look how much tiny, resource-strained Israel has managed to achieve in the short 70 years of its modern existence? This nation has evolved rapidly from a struggling agrarian society of poor and oppressed immigrants to one that leads the world in technological breakthroughs and literally reaching for the stars.