International media, usually harshly critical of Israel, expressed sympathy over the tragic death of Air Force pilot Assaf Ramon, whose father, the first Israeli astronaut, died in the Columbia spaceship disaster six years ago.
“The son of an Israeli national hero dies, like his father in a tragic crash,” reported the French daily Le Monde, which expressed its heartfelt sympathies with Israeli mourners.
CNN told it viewers, “After the disaster of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003. Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, became an admired figure in the United States, the news of the death of his son stunned many Americans.”
Britain’s Sky News also reported on the tragedy even in its night edition, several hours after the crash, and emphasized that the younger Ramon was on a training flight mission. The French daily Le Figaro reminded its residents that Ilan Ramon was the son of a Holocaust survivor and participated in the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
Even the BBC, whose anti-Israel reporting has been a source of conflicts with the Government Press Office, stated, “In the wreckage of the jet plane was killed the son of an Israeli hero.”
In the Arab world, Al Jazeera, which often takes a pro-Hamas position, reported the tragedy in a matter-of-fact manner and noted that a “Palestinian witness” told Israeli television he saw “a huge fire" as the plane crashed. It made no mention that the pilot’s grandfather was a Holocaust survivor.
The Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, closely associated with the Palestinian Authority, referred to Ramon’s F-16 trainer jet as an “Israeli warplane [that[ crashed during a flight near the illegal West Bank settlement of Pnei Hever.”
Readers who are interested in sending their sympathies to the Ramon family may do so here.