Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid his respects to beloved public figure Rona Ramon Wednesday. Ramon's body was lying in state at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa.
"I would define the life of Rona Ramon as a tragedy in biblical terms, but also as a giant of the spirit in biblical terms," Netanyahu said as he stood over Ramon's coffin.
While Ramon lost both her husband, Israel’s pioneer astronaut Ilan Ramon, and her son IAF pilot Assaf Ramon, who at age 21 was killed in a training accident, Netanyahu said that Rona Roman never ceased bravely moving forward
"She was a leader to inspired herself and others to continue to work, to create, to lead," Netanyahu said, "and to foster excellent, reason and the capacity that is integral in our people - and perhaps in each one of us - to ascend higher and higher."
Ramon succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Monday. She was 54.
Her body will lie in state at the Peres center until 1:00 p.m. Wednesday. Hundreds have already come to pay their respects.
Ramon established the Ramon Foundation in 2010, not only in response to a personal need to honor her loved ones, but also in the hope of meeting a national need to educate youth in the spirit of Ilan and Asaf. The Ramon Foundation sponsors space and aviation programs for youth and provides scholarships to worthy candidates. Ramon’s aim was to inspire and motivate young Israelis to strive for academic excellence and encourage them to pursue their dreams.
Since then, the Ramon Foundation has become an extraordinary engine of change, and today is Israel’s primary vehicle in promoting space education. It operates educational programs in schools across the country, promoting leadership development and education in Space and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Ramon spoke about her life and achievements in a TEDx talk at the Holon Institute of Technology in 2014.