President Shimon Peres called the death of 20-year-old IAF officer Lt. Assaf Ramon in an F-16 crash in the Hebron Hills on Sunday "more than a tragedy."
"What happened today is more than a tragedy. In our worst nightmares we could never had imagined such a heart-breaking accident," Peres said in a statement.
The president went on to praise both Assaf's father, the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the Columbia space shuttle disaster six years ago, and Assaf himself.
"I knew them both, father and son - Ilan and Assaf, fighters, scholars, courageous men, dreamersâ€¦ As a family they are a symbol for all that is great in Jewish history, all that is courageous about the Jewish state," Peres wrote in the statement.