Team Israel Robotics. (screenshot)

The Israeli team of high school students also received a special award for exceptional help to other groups.

Israeli students from the Megiddo Regional High School won a silver medal at the FIRST Global Challenge Robotics Olympics Competition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last weekend. The team required special security clearance to represent Israel at the event.

The Israel FIRST Robotics Mission is sponsored by Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology. It was sent to Dubai under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Megiddo Regional Council, Tama Company and the Foreign Ministry.

The Israel team competed against delegations representing 119 countries. It consisted of five high school students, Noa Duman, Yuval Perry and Ron Perry of Ramot Menashe, Itai Ziv of Merhavia and Omar Baram of Yokneam-Illit,  two mentors, Osnat Duman and Nissim Levy, and security staff to ensure their safety.

The teams were challenged to develop robots that collect waste from oceans and provide environmental protection. Scores were based on how many items robots were able to pick up from the competition arena.

“I am proud and appreciative of the team and the spirit of competitiveness that has demonstrated perseverance and professionalism,” Major General (res.) Avihu Ben-Nun, Chairman of the Israeli team said, according to News1. “The mission’s achievements are a source of pride and respect for Israel FIRST and the entire State of Israel…the team reflects the positive impact of Israel FIRST on the technological success of the State of Israel.”

The Israeli team won four medals in the competition, according to News1. These include a special medal for exceptional help to other groups.

“The impressive achievement of our team in robotics is a great pride for the education system and the State of Israel,” Minister of Education, Rabbi Rafi Peretz said, according to News1. “The competition was an important opportunity for Israel in the technological and political [sectors] together…. We will continue to work on developing our children’s future and developing excellence so that Israel continues to be a leading [engine] in the global market. I congratulate the winning students.”

Minister of Science and Technology, Ophir Akunis said that the Israeli team’s win represents “true national pride,” praising the “unprecedented achievement.”

Founded in 1989 by entrepreneur Dean Cayman, FIRST aims to bring children and youth closer to science and technology through competitions between robots built by children and teens. More than 570,000 children and youth participate in FIRST programs worldwide.