Unveiling the cornerstone for the Beit Asaf Pre-military Academy.
(photo credit: GUY ASSAYAG/KKL-JNF)
A moving cornerstone laying ceremony took place on September 4, 2018 for the Asaf Ramon Pre-Military Academy. The academy will be built in Mitzpe Ilan, the northern Israeli village named for Asaf’s father, Ilan Ramon, who was Israel’s first astronaut.
Participants at the ceremony included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Ilan’s widow and Assaf’s mother Rona Ramon, KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar, Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, Menashe Regional Council Head Ilan Sadeh, Astronauts Garrett Reisman, Mike Massimino and Leland Melvin, and other distinguished guests from Israel and abroad.
Rona Ramon, who is the president of the Ramon Foundation, has been leading the project since its inception and helped coordinate between all the various donors and stakeholders. After the Ilan and Asaf Ramon Foundation raised 2 million shekels for the building of the structure, the KKL France
leadership decided to join the effort and to adopt the Beit Asaf pre-military academy. This decision received the full support of KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar. KKL-JNF added another 2.5 million shekels for construction of the academy, a sum that will enable it to move to its permanent home during the current year of activities.
The pre-military academy, which is expected to open in 2019, will be named for Asaf Ramon, of blessed memory, who was killed in the line of duty as an Israeli Air Force Pilot when his F-16 plane crashed in the southern Hebron mountain range nine years ago.
President Reuven Rivlin told the audience about a meeting he had with Rona Ramon a few months ago, at the bible study group at his residence in Jerusalem. “The group spoke about the meaning of the book of Job, and she said three things that I will never forget. The first was – and I quote – ‘our basic task as parents and as human beings is to develop and to believe in the next generation.’ The second thing that Rona said was that what brought her back to life, and what motivated her to become active after the terrible loss of Asaf, was a very sensitive, wise and wonderful sentence that her precious son wrote.
“Asaf wrote that he and his brothers were privileged to realize their dreams based on the belief that everyone needs to find their purpose in life within themselves. And the third thing that she said was a magnificent insight about Job, and once again I quote: ‘We are not opening a new page, we bring the whole book with us and begin anew from there, because nothing can express or give solace for who was lost.’”