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"Rona Ramon promoted science studies and made them accessible to many children"

This is how the director of the Israel Space Agency, Avi Blasberger, eulogizes the late Rona Ramon, who passed away this week (Sunday) ● She founded a foundation named after her husband, the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and carried out other activities - all of which contribute greatly to education in general, and for science education in particular

The late Rona Ramon. Archive photo: L.A.M
The late Rona Ramon. Archive photo: L.A.M

The passing of the late Rona Ramon stunned many who were unaware of the cancer she suffered from. She caused sadness in the public, especially in light of the fact that in 2003 Ramon lost her husband, Ilan, the first Israeli astronaut, in the space shuttle Columbia disaster, and six years later, her son, Asaf, in a training accident in the Air Force. Much was said last night in the media about her activities, after the disasters she experienced, for the sake of the public, especially in the field of education.

Ramon chose to devote a significant part of her time to the sciences, and in particular to space - a natural thing considering the fact that her husband died as an astronaut. The director of the Israel Space Agency, Avi Blasberger, said in an interview with People and Computers that it "promoted the studies of science and space, and made them accessible to many children."

Part of that activity is carried out through the Ramon Fund, which the government decided to establish after the Columbia disaster. The other part is carried out by the Ramon Foundation association, which Sharona founded and which raises funds independently, alongside the government fund.

"The goal of the two foundations is common: encouraging education and excellence," said Blasberger. "From there it started and it rolled far. Thus, for example, the Space Week was founded, which today is indeed financed by the Space Agency, but at the beginning it was Rona's idea, financed by the two foundations. At the center of Space Week is the International Space Conference, which has become an important international event. Also, we jointly created a scholarship program named after Ilan Ramon for doctoral and post-doctoral students in the field of space sciences."

Ramon did not only cooperate with Israeli officials: Blasberger said that "in the beginning, she encouraged senior NASA officials and astronauts to come to Israel and give lectures to children and youth. This is another thing that we have adopted over the years, but its buds came from her. During each of the Space Weeks, astronauts from different agencies in the world come to Israel and carry out extensive activities here."

A sign of excellence and pre-military training


Director of the Israel Space Agency Avi Blasberger. Photo: Avi Blizovsky
Director of the Israel Space Agency Avi Blasberger. Photo: Avi Blizovsky

He mentioned other activities in which Ramon was involved: "One of them is the Ramon Award for Excellence, given to outstanding students who do social activities. In addition, Beit Assaf, named after Assaf Ramon, was recently opened, which operates a pre-military training for youth in the social periphery, who are at high risk."

"Rona Ramon encouraged excellence and nurtured children in need, with tireless personal investment. Even in her most recent, most difficult period, her main occupation was to promote issues that are in the field of education and contribution to society. She saw education as a message and a continuation of the vision of Ilan Ramon, who leveraged his flight into space for the benefit of society, by promoting awareness of science education," he added.

Will these activities continue after Ramon's departure? Blasberger is convinced that it is. "What Rona Ramon sowed will have continuity, and her legacy will be preserved and developed. As mentioned, there are many activities that she started and expanded far beyond what she imagined, and they already have their own dynamics."

The coffin of the late Rona Ramon which was placed in the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. Photo: Avi Blizovsky
The coffin of the late Rona Ramon which was placed in the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. Photo: Avi Blizovsky


There is no doubt that Rona Ramon was an extraordinary personality. I am also writing this from personal knowledge. There is also no doubt that of all the disasters she experienced in her life, she brought positive messages, all of which are for the benefit of society and education.

"Its activity can be defined as a life enterprise. She was supposed to receive an honorary doctorate from Ben Gurion University for lifetime achievement in the fields of education and society. Unfortunately, she did not get to reach the status, but there is no doubt that the work of life and the legacy she left behind have left their mark and that her work will continue," Belsberger concluded.

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