Photo Credit: courtesy, NASA via Twitter
Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, z'l

This Thursday would have been the 65th birthday of Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who perished in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster.

Ramon was considered “a major inspiration” behind the recent Beresheet project that sent Israel’s first-ever spacecraft to the moon.

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READ: Beresheet Crash Site Located on Moon

“All of Israel looked up to him,” wrote Team SpaceIL, part of the group that sent Beresheet into space together with NASA, SpaceX and Israel Aeronautics Industries (IAI).

Who knows what might have been, had Ilan Ramon survived?

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.