Israel will probably never find out the fate of missing navigator Ron Arad, a senior Israeli figure said this week.
Last weekend, Hizbollah delivered a dossier on its efforts to locate the navigator, who bailed out over Lebanon 22 years ago, as part of the prisoner deal.
“After 22 years, I don’t think there is anything new we will find out,” said the source, who has seen all the intelligence on the issue. “I don’t remember another case in which a man disappeared for 20 years and nothing was heard of him that was solved. I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The dossier included an 80-page report on Hizbollah efforts to discover Lt-Col Arad’s whereabouts but included little new, apart from two photographs of Lt-Col Arad in captivity, a letter and a few fragments of a diary. Hizbollah assumes that Lt-Col Arad died, probably in May 1988. Israel has inconclusive information that Mr Arad was held at some stage by Iranian agents.
An Israeli intelligence report three years ago concluded that Mr Arad was dead, but a government commission ruled that until definite information was received, he would be considered missing in action. In Israel it is taboo to talk of him as being dead. His daughter Yuval bitterly attacked a Maariv op-ed last weekend that called upon the government finally to end the saga.