Ilan Ramon with his F-16
Ilan Ramon with his F-16Israel news photo: Flash 90/archive

Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi has requested that Ilan Ramon’s name not be used for a new aerospace center in the Israeli-Arab city of Taibe. The center is funded in part by the Ilan Ramon fund.

According to MK Tibi, naming the center for Israel’s first astronaut “is likely to be hurtful to local residents, and to the Arab sector in general.”

“[Ramon] was a combat pilot who took part in bombing a civilian population during the Lebanon war,” he accused, “and in attacks in Arab countries.”

Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz flatly turned down and  condemned Tibi's request. “MK Tibi crossed a red line with his infuriating appeal,” Hershkowitz said. “He is doing tremendous damage to Israeli society in general, and to the sector he represents in particular.”

“Every aerospace center is named for Ilan Ramon,” he continued. “If Taibe doesn’t want an aerospace center named for Ilan Ramon – they won’t get an aerospace center at all," Minister Hershkowitz stated.

“You can’t enjoy state funding while disrespecting one of the state’s heroes, the first Israeli astronaut, an exemplary man who bravely fought Islamic terror both in Israel and abroad,” he concluded.

The Science Ministry is building two aerospace centers, one in Taibe and one in the Druze town of Yarka. The projects are funded by the Ilan Ramon fund and the government’s Authority for Economic Development in the Arab Sector.