If successful, Beresheet would have made Israel the fourth nation to land on the moon (following the US, Russia and China).
The command centre lost communications with the spacecraft as it approached its final orbit just nine metres from the surface.
The spacecraft’s engine turned off shortly before landing – and by the time power was restored, the craft was moving too fast to land safely.
It was expected to land in the Sea of Serenity, on the northern hemisphere of the moon’s near side. Around 20 kilometres from the moon’s surface, Beresheet captured a “selfie” during its landing manoeuvre.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again”.
Beresheet was built by Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries with $100m (£76.5m) provided mainly by private donors.
With Beresheet, Israel has become the 7th country in the world to successfully orbit the moon.