The Mossad recently organized an operation to locate Ron Arad – Bennett – .

The Mossad recently organized an operation to locate Ron Arad – Bennett – .

Mossad conducted a special operation in the Middle East to find the remains and information on Israeli Air Force (IAF) navigator Ron Arad, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed in a speech Monday in front of the Knesset plenum.

Despite the dramatic announcement, Bennett gave no further information on the fate of the captive, who has long been presumed dead. His office also did not provide any context or explanation on the timing of the prime minister’s statement revealing the covert operation.

Bennett told the Knesset that he had authorized the operation for the missing airman since 1986 in the spirit of the Jewish concept of captive redemption and that he had informed Arad’s family.

“Last month, Mossad operatives – male and female – embarked on a complex, large-scale and daring operation to locate the remains and fate of Ron Arad,” the prime minister said.

“That’s all that can be said at the moment,” Bennett said. He also thanked the IDF and the Shin Bet for the “exceptional collaboration” in the special operation.

Bennett added that “redeeming prisoners is a Jewish value that has become one of the holiest values ​​in the State of Israel… It defines us and makes us unique. We will continue to take action to get all of our sons home from anywhere. “

The prime minister also said he informed Arad’s family of the operation. His relatives told Channel 12 that they “continue to hope that one day we may find out what Ron’s fate was.”

Arad was captured on October 16, 1986, after a bomb dropped by his plane damaged the plane, forcing him and the plane’s pilot to jump into the air. The pilot was rescued, but Arad was captured by the Lebanese Shiite group Amal, then transferred to Iranian forces.

Arad sent three letters from captivity and two photos of him were published. Israel lost track of Arad in 1988.

There have been several Israeli operations to gain more information on Arad’s fate, including the capture of Hezbollah operatives and the offer of a $ 10 million reward. A joint Mossad and IDF report determined in 2016 that Arad probably died in 1988.

A spokesperson for Bennett simply said the reason for the announcement was to “update the members of the Knesset.”

When asked if this was related to a likely trip by the Prime Minister to Moscow, the spokesperson said no. No date has been set for the visit, but Bennett has agreed to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian military found the remains of missing Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel in 2019, returning them to Israel. Russia maintains a military presence in Syria.

Bennett also said in his speech that under his leadership he had strengthened Israel’s relations with the United States, “despite those who tried to undermine our efforts,” a reference to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two current and former prime ministers did not shake hands between their speeches – although they did so earlier on Monday, at a memorial for former President Shimon Peres – and Netanyahu accused Bennett of be responsible for every death from COVID-19 since taking office.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, September 5, 2021. (SEBASTIAN SCHEINER / POOL VIA REUTERS)

Criticizing Bennett’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu said Bennett should have attacked the Iranian leader, instead of Israel’s top medical professionals.


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