For Rona Ramon, tragedy has struck twice in less than seven years, first her husband Ilan z”l, who was the astronaut of the Jewish People, now followed by their eldest son, Assaf, who only a few short weeks ago pinned his pilot’s wings on his shirt, a graduate of the last class. As was the case with his father, he was cited for excellence at graduation.
When Lt. Ramon’s F-16 disappeared from air force radar, officials began to worry. The veteran pilot alongside his plan tried to establish radio communications with him, without success. At 14:01:30, the notification was made, that the young pilot’s plane vanished from radar, and it may be experiencing technical difficulties. It is believe he hit the ground at that time. The investigation to determine the cause is ongoing.
Reports began coming in from Southern Chevron Hills area residents, explaining they heard an explosion and “something fell from the sky”. The young pilot did not manage to extricate himself from death as he did a few short months ago when his craft developed a major technical malfunction during training.
The confirmation of the tragedy brought senior military officers to a halt, including IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi and Air Force Commander Major-General Ido Nehushtan. Former air force commanders and senior military officers began making their way to the Nahalal home of the Ronen family, retracing their footsteps of 6.5 years ago when the nation’s first astronaut perished in the Columbia space shuttle disaster.
The newspaper carry a banner headline of pain and mourning, perhaps a national mourning, as the nation bids farewell to a son, many feeling a connection with the Rona Ramon’s pain. His father was a legend, having taken part in the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981, and becoming the first astronaut and taking part in the America’s NASA space program. Many viewed Assaf as a son capable of filling such lofty shoes, but we now know this was not to be the case.
Lt. Assaf Ramon will be laid to rest in Nahalal aside his father at 4:00pm on Monday. Government ministers and senior IDF officers will be in attendance. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has postponed a meeting with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell to attend.
Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger issued a mourning announcement and called on the tzibur to set aside time to learn or recite tehillim in his memory.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)
BD’E a family sacrifices for am yisroel