Knesset Member Opposes Naming Space Center for Israeli Astronaut Ramon
Knesset member Ahmed Tibi, leader of the Israeli-Arab Ta’al party, called the decision to name a space center after late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon “distasteful” because Ramon attacked civilians in Lebanon and took part in Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor as an Israeli Air Force pilot.
The center will be in Tibi’s native Arab village, Taybeh. Ramon, the first and only Israeli astronaut, died with six other crew members in NASA’s fatal 2003 Columbia mission.
MK David Rotem noted that Tibi is “willing to give up on a space center that would educate Arab children just in order to avoid honoring an Israeli hero,” the Jerusalem Post reported. Gadi Ramon, Ilan’s brother, said Tibi is missing a chance for Israeli-Arab cooperation.
“I work with many people from the Arab sector and they treated my brother with respect and admiration,” Gadi said, according to Army Radio.