Candles flicker outside Ramon home in Ramat Gan

September 14, 2009 02:11
2 minute read.

Candles lit the entrance to the Ramon family home in Ramat Gan on Sunday evening. Hours after his death and shortly after the news of the plane crash was made public, more than 100 people had already gathered around the house to pay their respects to Assaf Ramon and his family. The small street in the Ramat Chen neighborhood was eerily quiet. Despite the sizable number of people, there was hardly a sound. Once in a while someone's cellphone would ring or a dog would bark in the distance, but for the most part everything was still and silent. People spoke in whispers and every now and then a sob or a sigh could be heard. Disbelief was visible on most of the faces. Disbelief that a family that experienced such great tragedy in the past, would once again be visited by disaster. The people who lined the street were mostly residents of the neighborhood, people who knew Assaf or were friends of the family. There were soldiers in uniform sitting on the curb and leaning on one another for support and for comfort. There were younger people, teenage friends of Assaf's brothers, who lit candles looked at the entrance to the home with tears in their eyes. There were young children, perhaps classmates of his 12-year-old sister, who whispered among themselves and wrote text messages on their mobile phones. Throughout the afternoon and evening people trickled in and out of the two-story house, often encountering with hugs and tears as they came and left. Once in a while, an officer came out of the house and approached the television crews and reporters who waited quietly at the end of the block. The officer came up to the reporters and released what little information was to be had. "Assaf was a graduate of Blich High School. "He studied robotics and physics in a laboratory named after his father." "Assaf had three siblings, Tal 19, Yiftach 17 and Noa 12." "Assaf joined the army a month after graduation." "The notice was given to the family by the chief of staff along with the commander of the air force." "Details on the funeral will be passed on separately." Eventually there was no new information and he stopped coming out. The dozens of reporters and film crew members behaved respectfully. They kept their distance and avoided hurling questions at those leaving and entering the house. It was as if an unspoken agreement forbade them to break the solemnity of the occasion with questions that really have no answers. As the evening wore on, high-ranking officers and government representatives began arriving, the flashing lights of their police escorts piercing the darkness of the secluded street. Experienced press-handlers just walked by shaking their heads or muttering under their breath. "Only a few weeks ago the entire Israeli nation stood together with the military on the parade ground of an air force base in the South, with a chest swelled with pride in memory of Ilan Ramon and with pride in his son who went in his footsteps, and now these bitter tidings... "These tidings are part of the price that we have to pay for life in this land," said IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu in a statement to the press.

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