Join our email list here:


Where is Ron Arad

Asaf Romirowsky- Saturday 20th Mar 2004

Israel's recent prisoner exchange with Hezbollah has thrown uncomfortable light on Israel's willingness, or perhaps on the political necessity, of dealing with a terrorist organization in order to bring the bodies of its soldiers home for Jewish burial. It also raises a particularly painful question. Elhanan Tenenbaum is back, but why not missing airman Ron Arad? This was a lopsided deal that has left Israelis bitterly scratching their heads. They've been a whole lot more scratching ever since the daily newspaper Maariv revealed that Tenenbaum's father-in-law, Shimon Cohen, was for years the manager of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's ranch, raising yet another question about his motives for making the prisoner swap

Arad is the one missing Israeli airman who has become a national symbol. A navigator in an Israeli F-4 Phantom shot down on October 6, 1986, he was captured by members of the Shiite militia, Amal, after bailing out of his crippled warplane over the Lebanese city of Sidon.

Israeli airmen are notoriously hard to shoot down; Arad thus became a "hot commodity" in Lebanon. Everyone wanted to take credit for his capture, or to exploit it. For Syria, he was an intelligence source. Hezbollah (then only four years old) wanted him in order to show that it was a serious group. Various Palestinian militant groups wanted him because he was a part of the hated "Zionist Army." Iran simply wanted to use him to humiliate and "tease" Israel.

In Israel, Arad's capture was a nightmare. Bumper stickers and billboards could be seen sporting a national slogan: "Ron Arad was born to be free." Every meeting between Israel and foreign officials, including the U.S., addressed the possible whereabouts of Arad. That search, however, led nowhere.

The latest three-year negotiations between Hezbollah and Israel were supposed to disclose the fate of Ron Arad. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Manufacturers Association in Tel Aviv last month, "Israel is closer than ever to the possibility of obtaining real information about the fate of Ron Arad."

In the end, however, in order to get information about its fallen soldiers in Lebanon, Israel was forced to accept Hezbollah as a partner for the ransom talks. Yet, the secret negotiations brokered by German mediator Ernst Urhlau have not produced Arad. Where is he? Sharon's government faces a difficult dilemma that could have far-reaching implications — what price should Israel pay to negotiate the return of her kidnapped and MIA soldiers?

Israeli MIAs have always been one of most difficult issues for the IDF. "I fully understand the difficulties," said Sharon, adding, "The counter-arguments were also strong and just. However, one cannot escape difficult decisions. This is the task of leadership, and for this it is elected. We have taken all aspects into consideration, we have seriously considered and weighed all the information, and finally we placed on the scales a decisive weight: it is called, 'Jewish Sentiment.'"

Missing from all this is a rationale for the choice actually made. The deal was made despite the fact that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. This non-state actor is acting as if it were a legitimate player conducting direct negotiations on behalf of its "citizens." This could allow for the expansion of the area known, in analyst Eyal Zisser's words, as "Hezbollahland," a "territory in south Lebanon over which it has complete control. This territory serves as a home base both for Hezbollah's military operations against Israel and for mobilizing support for the organization's activities within Lebanon. The area lies outside the effective control of the Lebanese government, and even of Syria."

We are now 18 years down the road and still Ron Arad is not free. What does this say about Israel's negotiations with Hezbollah? It shows quite clearly that it is Hezbollah, not Israel, that is arguing from a position of diplomatic strength.

As a result, Israel has opened herself to more attempts at kidnapping and has not kept the promise it should have kept — to bring Arad home. Ariel Sharon did not rise to become the leader of Israel by speaking softly, and this is not the issue or the partner with whom to practice it. He should have shouted.

Arad's symbolism runs deeper. This lopsided exchange has compromised Israel's policy of regional deterrence. Now, as the next phase of negotiations is about to commence, the Sharon government must stipulate the return of Ron Arad as a non-negotiatable condition; otherwise the strength of Israel's enemies can only increase.



Search article archive:

Israeli government surrenders to terrorism.. again By David Shalom with Betar UK - 16th Jul 08

What is a proportionate response? By Tom Carew - 5th Mar 08

Extortion Payout to Arab Mafia By Steven Shamrak - 6th Jan 08

On dialogue between Jews and Muslims By Isi Leibler - 1st Jan 08

Wake up call - Time to stop Annapolis Madness By David Shalom - 19th Nov 07

The Enemy Within By David Shalom - 8th Aug 07

Boycott Anglo Jewry By Jeremy Rosen - 22nd Jul 07

The Internal Fighting Between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza By Leon Ruskin - 27th Jun 07

A day in the life of Hebrew University By Angela Bertz - 6th Jun 07

In the Trenches: Why the British journalists union boycotts Israel By David Harris - 20th Apr 07

British journalists union boycott motion reflects deep animosity towards Israel By Chas Newkey Burden - 20th Apr 07

Weakness fosters anti-Semitism By ISI LEIBLER - 6th Nov 06

The media war against Israel By Melanie Philips - 5th Sep 06

The Civilian Casualties Are Aweful, But Israel Is Fighting For Its Existence By Richard Littlejohn - 4th Aug 06

Evidence mounts that Qana collapse and deaths were staged. By Reuven Koret - 31st Jul 06

Seeing Through The Fog Of War, The Truth... By Bernard J. Shapiro - 30th Jul 06

Why Israels Reaction to Hezbollah is Right By Matthias Küntzel - 28th Jul 06

Hezbollah, The war against Israel By Melanie Phillips - 27th Jul 06

Lunatic, Terrorist, Suicide Society By Amnon Dankner, Editor of Maariv Newspaper - 29th Jun 06

Those who celebrate death By Michael Freund - 16th May 06

Terror and Peace By Dori Gamliel - 1st Mar 06

Why the Hamas Victory is a Good Thing By Steven Plaut - 30th Jan 06

Two faces of an old bully By Shmuel Katz - 2nd Jan 06

Why Syria Welcomed David Duke By Dr. Rafael Medoff - 3rd Dec 05

The Right Strategy By Caroline Glick - 21st Oct 05

The Deliverance of Israel By Caleb Corbin - 15th Oct 05

Hold Palestinians accountable for Gaza synagogues destruction By Jerusalem Post - 14th Sep 05

Speech at Duke University by a Lebanese Christian By Brigitte Gabriel - 9th Sep 05

Was Arafat a Homosexual that died of Aids-UPDATED By Yaniv - 8th Sep 05

The End of Myhtology By Caroline Glick - 27th Aug 05

Is "Disengagement" promoting security, democracy and the economy? By Yoram Ettinger - 16th Aug 05

Ethnic Cleansing By Joseph Farah - 5th Aug 05

Does Corruption Drive Israeli Disengagement? By Rachel Neuwirth - 1st Aug 05

Where Now for the National Camp? By David Shalom - 20th Jul 05

The Beginning of the Reckoning By Caroline Glick - 17th Jul 05

'Orange fever' strikes Israel, Campaign colors country to stop Gaza evacuation By Aaron Klein - 13th Jul 05

The Israelification of Europe By Mark Steyn - 13th Jul 05

The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly By Tom Gross - 12th Jul 05

The Lynch Against the Maoz Yam Hotel By Nadia Matar - 6th Jul 05

Disengaged from Reality By David Shalom - 6th Jul 05

Ariel Sharon - A coward for prime minister By Caroline Glick - 23rd Jun 05

A bolshevik state comes to Israel? By Israel Hanukoglu / Betar/ Women in Green - 19th May 05

This Year, Free Men? By Avi Hyman - 26th Apr 05

A dying lion that can still do harm/Britain's slide into self-destruction By Caroline Glick - 25th Apr 05

Pollard's freedom and our freedom By Caroline Glick - 24th Apr 05

BETAR joins fight for Gush Katif By Betar - 12th Apr 05

What Bush doesn't understand By Dr. Ron Breiman - 12th Apr 05

The Temple Mount Secret By Boris Shusteff - 11th Apr 05

Betar fights PLO on Oxford street By Betar-Tagar UK - 3rd Apr 05

Our World: The Holocaust Fetish By Caroline Glick - 2nd Apr 05


All Graphics Text, Control Management System Copyright Betar Tagar UK 2002 - Website Designers