Rona Ramon, widow of first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. (Marc Israel Sellem /POOL /Flash90) (Marc Israel Sellem /POOL /Flash90)
Rona Ramon


“We will continue to bask in your light, the light you gave for those who do, despite the pain and from those who create, from the darkness,” Rivlin said in his eulogy to Rona Ramon.

By: United with Israel Staff

Israel on Monday publicly mourned the death of Rona Ramon, wife of the late Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, and mother of Asaf Ramon, an Israel Air Force (IAF) pilot killed in training in 2009.

Rona passed away on Monday at the age of 54 after a short battle with cancer.

Ilan Ramon, a former IAF colonel and Israel’s first and only astronaut, was the space shuttle payload specialist of STS-107, the fatal mission of Columbia, in which he and six other crew members were killed in a re-entry accident in February 2003.

Posthumously he was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal, and the Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Ilan was the only foreign recipient of the United States Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara expressed “deep sorrow” over Rona’s passing.

“Rona stood bravely after the deaths of her husband Ilan and her son Asaf, our beloved pilots, may their memories be for a blessing. She battled cancer with the same bravery, but to our sorrow, succumbed today. We will always remember her and her splendid family. May her memory be for a blessing.”

‘Three Bright Stars’

Rona formed a foundation in memory of her husband and son that promoted excellence in education and counseled others coping with tragedies.

In his eulogy, President Reuven Rivlin said that “Rona Ramon has gone from us as she lived among us – noble, clear and full of belief.”

“Ilan and Asaf touched the skies, and Rona touched our hearts. We will never forget how you built from out of the ruins, how you endowed meaning in infinite pain, how your creativity filled the never-ending void,” he continued.

“We will continue to bask in your light, the light you gave for those who do, despite the pain and from those who create, from the darkness, and will look up to the skies to search for you, three bright stars.”

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said he was “heartbroken to learn of the untimely passing of Rona Ramon, an incredible woman who I had the honor to know and from whom I have learned much.”

“Through all her challenges, she led a life of vision, patriotism and strength,” he added. “May her memory be blessed.”

Rona is survived by three children.

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