Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Israel: a nation that cannot catch a break

For two years, violence and terrorism have plagued Israel.
Peace, a strong economy and happiness are merely in the past in the
minds of those hopeful of a peaceful future for the Middle East’s
only democratic nation. Terrorist attacks have taken the lives of
786 Israelis in the past two years, and peace is sadly not in

This is just another reason why Columbia’s disintegration is so
devastating. For the first time in two years, Israelis were happy
and filled with pride, just as Americans were filled with pride 33
years ago when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the Apollo 11 crew
landed on the moon.

Ilan Ramon was Israel’s first astronaut to travel into space.
For weeks, Israeli citizens’ primary focus turned away from the
terrorist attacks that have plagued their nation and united on
Ramon’s historical journey. Newspapers and television stations were
focused on the positive and historic event — a refreshing change
from the usual coverage of war and terror.


Even before his journey into space, the 48–year–old Ramon was
a national hero. He participated in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and, in
1981, he was one of eight Israeli F–16 pilots that were able to
fly undetected into Iraq and destroy a nuclear reactor located near
Baghdad, thus clearing one of the earliest threats of a possible
nuclear attack by Iraq.

Ramon gave Israelis a reason to dream. Although he had fought in
the Israeli army, he was a man of peace. He repeatedly stated
during the mission how he desired and dreamt of a day when Israel
would be as peaceful on the ground as it appeared from outer

Ramon was giving citizens a look at the opportunities ahead and
was appreciative that the United States had invited an Israeli to
join the mission. This was a mission that involved conducting
valuable research looking at genetically engineered adult stem
cells in a weightless environment, with the possibility of
converting them into bone, cartilage or tendon cells.

Ramon understood how important his mission was to Israel and
accepted the responsibility that came with the journey. This
mission helped legitimize Israel’s two–decade–old space program.
Ramon spent time in space talking to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
Israeli scientists and school children, many still too young to
realize the historic event they were experiencing.

Coincidentally, on the 11th day of the 16–day mission, the crew
of Columbia said a prayer and honored the crews of Apollo 1 and the
Challenger — both of which marked their tragic anniversaries
during this space expedition — 36 years ago and 17 years ago,

The astronauts of these crews knew the risks of flying into
space and were willing to take those risks in order to serve
mankind in its drive to improve scientific research to help save
lives. The seven men and woman of the Columbia shuttle have now
also made the ultimate sacrifice and will forever be remembered as

Israel’s struggle in the region will continue. Since the deadly
crash, newspapers have covered nothing but this tragic event.
Stricken by grief once again, Israelis will need to remain strong
and will need to soon look ahead to the challenges it faces: a
struggling economy, a decline in immigration and students coming to
study abroad, and the terrorism it faces on an almost daily

For these things to change, the Israeli government will need to
continue to work towards a fair compromise with Palestinian
officials — one that will secure Israel’s freedom, independence
and safety.


Matt Modell ([email protected]) is a senior
majoring in journalism and political science.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *