Son of Israel’s first astronaut killed during pilot training.

AP via the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

JERUSALEM — The son of an Israeli astronaut who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster six years ago was killed today when his F-16 warplane crashed on a routine training flight, the Israeli military said.

The military identified the dead pilot as Capt. Asaf Ramon, son of Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first and only astronaut. One of seven crew members killed when the Columbia exploded as it re-entered the atmosphere in 2003, Ilan Ramon is seen as a national hero in Israel, and radio and TV stations broke into their broadcasts today to report the news of his son’s death.

The crash elicited emotional responses from Israeli leaders. The military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, arrived at the family’s home along with the air force commander after news of the crash was made public, and the country’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said he was “heartbroken.”

“It is a sad and painful day,” Barak told reporters.

Ramon’s fighter jet crashed south of the West Bank city of Hebron. Dan Kapach, a security officer at a nearby Israeli settlement, described a “huge explosion.”


Ramon, 21, was the eldest of Ilan Ramon’s four children. He excelled in his pilot training and in June received a presidential honor and was given his pilot’s wings by President Shimon Peres.


The pilot was 15 at the time of the death of his father, the payload specialist on the Columbia. A former fighter pilot who took part in Israel’s bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, Ilan Ramon had schools and other institutions named for him after his death.

Today Israeli TV stations screened footage of Ramon floating weightless in the space shuttle, swallowing floating drops of water and speaking about his love for his wife and children.

By the way, and not in an attempt to hawk a book in a post like this, but “Raid on the Sun: Inside Israel’s Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb” by Rodger Claire is a great book that details the Israeli operations against Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor.

One thing that Claire mentions in the foreword was how sad he was that he only had a single opportunity to talk to Ilan Ramon for the book. They had originally planned to get together for a more in-depth interview following Ramon’s participant on the Columbia mission, but they obviously never got the opportunity.

Another thing that Claire mentions during the book was that one of the generals that was responsible for the planning of the mission was there to see the pilots off on the day of the attack despite losing his own son in a plane crash during pilot training a few days earlier.

Requesting one ‘Rob Wittman translator’ please.

These are Representative Rob Wittman’s comments — as quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch — regarding Israel’s response to Hamas’s rocket attacks:

Rep. Robert J. Wittman, R-1st, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the attacks give Obama a new opportunity to talk directly with Israel.

“We need to be in a position to have candid conversations about strategic actions in the Middle East,” said Wittman, who recently returned from an eight-day trip to Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain and Afghanistan.

Wittman called for the world community to “bring more political and diplomatic solutions” to the region.

Seriously, someone tell me what the heck he just said.

At least Eric Cantor (who’s a Jew, as the RT-D so diligently pointed out) had the guts to say that Israel had the right to defend itself; Wittman couldn’t even be bothered to say that.

What “strategic actions in the Middle East” does Wittman want to have “candid conversations” about?

Withdrawing from Iraq or Afghanistan?

Screwing over Israel?

Or is just empty platitudes that sound like something a ninth grader would write for an English paper?

And if Wittman is relying on the world community to “‘bring more political and diplomatic solutions’ to the region”, then Israel is really screwed. When you have the majority of the coward Europeans condemning Israel for defending its citizens, there’s something seriously wrong in this world.

Amazing, both the Palestinian Authority (via Mahmoud Abbas) and the Egyptian government condemned Hamas. But that has more to do with realpolitik, than with any support for the state of Israel: the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt — which Hamas is an offshoot of — is constantly fighting with the Egyptian government and Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party is the rival of Hamas for the control of the Palestinian territories.

The people we let into this country [and county].

Palestinian Election Commission Visits Caroline County Registrar’s Office:

Thursday, July 31, 2008 Caroline County registrar’s office hosted a visit from members of the Palestinian Election Commission. Pictured above (left to right) are Danette Moen, General Registrar, Suhair Dweik, an attorney who serves as the head trainer of the Election Commission, Vladimir Pran, Chief of Party for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Hisham Kuhail, the Chief Executive Officer of the Election Commission, Luther Morris, Vice Chairman of the Caroline County Electoral Board and Barbara Cockrell of the State Board of Elections (SBE) in Richmond.

The Election Commission arrived in Virginia on Sunday evening and attended the 2008 SBE Election Uniformity Workshop. The workshop was held Monday through Wednesday in Richmond. Thursday they visited DMV headquarters in Richmond to see how Virginia’s Motor Voter program works. Their trip also included tours of the SBE offices, the Capital and Henrico Department of Social Services before stopping by Caroline County on their way to Washington DC.

The purpose of the trip was to see how Virginia handles Voter Registrations. At present Palestine has one day a year for voter registrations and they are interested in seeing the many options for voter registration in the Commonwealth.

If you are not yet registered to vote go on the State Board of Elections website and copy an application or call the registrar’s office at 804-633-9083.

Who is Hisham Kuhail? Well, from The Chronicle of Higher Education (March 28, 2003):

In the West Bank, all Palestinian universities that were not previously closed by Israeli military orders suspended their operations for a few days. At Birzeit University, the oldest Palestinian institution, officials said that because Israel does not provide gas masks to Palestinians, the administration had decided students should remain home with their families in the event of an Iraqi attack with Scud missiles carrying chemical weapons. “The Israelis don’t even think about this for Palestinians,” said Hisham Kuhail, deputy minister of higher education for the Palestinian Authority.

And when did it become the responsibility for the Israelis to give gas masks to Palestinians?

The Palestinian Authority has been given $3,000,000,000.00 since 1993 from various countries (Edmonton Journal, April 22, 2002), and they have money to give to the families of suicide bombers, but they can’t provide for their citizens.

Oh, and didn’t Yasser Arafat have a massive mansion before he died? And didn’t he have $1,000,000,000.00 in his portfolio, most of it taken from the Palestinian Authority (CBS News)?

And the last time Iraq shot Scuds at Israel, the Palestinians were on the roof-tops cheering.

From USA Today (April 25, 2002):

At the Ministry of Higher Education, the Israelis scooped up computer disks and used explosives to destroy PCs, fax machines and other electronic equipment, Deputy Minister Hisham Kuhail says. “We have no secret information here,” says Kuhail, who estimates the damage at $ 289,000.

So, let me get this straight, the Israelis with their finite amount of explosives destroyed approximately 192 pieces of computer equipment ($289,000 / ~$,1500 a computer = ~192)?

That would require placing a piece of C4 on every single piece of equipment and detonating them.

Uh, wouldn’t dropping a couple bombs on the building be a hell of lot more efficient?


The Israeli government says it had to look everywhere: At the education ministry, there was material that will shed light on how Palestinian youngsters are taught to hate Israel and aspire to martyrdom as suicide bombers. In the home of the Nablus mayor, there was a secret laboratory for making explosives, Israel says.

From the Edmonton Journal (April 22, 2002):

Hisham Kuhail, an undersecretary in the six-story Ministry of Higher Education, stood atop a broken computer in a hallway crammed with cracked, smashed and burned computers, printers and copiers.

“They were on a mission of destruction only. … I could understand what they were doing if they’d come in looking for guns. But here? Guns? There is no single reason for what they were doing here,” Kuhail said.


Israeli army officials acknowledged searching the ministries but denied any attempt to deliberately cripple public services. They also denied using explosives to destroy computers or documents.

“We searched them because we had to search them. In these searches, there’s a certain amount of disruption,” said one military official. “We do not know of wanton damage.”

Well, this is just great, at the very least we have a Fatah propagandist touring the local registrar’s office and the Virginia DMV headquarters.

Anyone else feel safe?

It’s official: Israel is doomed.

Israel released several prisoners for the bodies of two dead soldiers. One of the prisoners was Samir Kuntar (LGF):

For Hezbollah, the centerpiece is Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese convicted by an Israeli court in a 1979 attack that ended in the deaths of three members of an Israeli family. Kuntar, then 16, shot and killed Danny Haran in front of his 4-year-old daughter, and then smashed her head with his rifle butt. Haran’s wife accidentally smothered their 2-year-old daughter as she attempted to quiet the girl in their hiding space. Two Israeli policeman also were killed.