Twenty-Seven Years Since Navigator Major Ron Arad Fell into Captivity

Ron Arad is remembered at his home base during flight briefings Twenty-Seven Years Since Navigator Major Ron Arad Fell into Captivity

Ron Arad with his daughter Yuval Twenty-seven years have passed since the navigator Major Ron Arad fell into captivity. The routine attack in the north that ended with the ejection of the aerial team from the plane in Lebanese territory has remained a scar in the pages of history. The IAF still awaits his return

IAF Site

On October 6th, 1986, during a routine attack in Lebanon, a Phantom plane was hit as a result of a technical failure: a bomb exploded too close to the underside of the plane. Two crew members parachuted from the plane. The pilot, Aviram, was rescued by Cobra helicopters in a daring operation. The navigator, Ron Arad, fell into captivity.

In the first two years of his captivity, there was sporadic contact between the navigator and his family and sent three letters and a picture. Moreover, information on his situation in those years reached decision-makers in Jerusalem. In 1989, Arad was transferred to another hiding place and since then, no reliable news of his whereabouts has been received.

Over the years, a number of hypotheses about Arad’s fate have arisen. For example, it was widely believed that he is being held captive in Iran. The State of Israel has tried to formulate a numbers of deals in order to secure the release of the captured navigator, but none of them has come into fruition. Over time the State of Israel has invested in finding information about his whereabouts, not a shred of reliable information has been received to help in the search. 

Ron’s fall into captivity has become a national tragedy: the national slogan coined after his capture, “Ron Arad – Born Free”, is familiar to every Israeli. Over the years, his family and friends have continued to fight on his behalf to raise awareness for finding information about his fate. In 2001, the “Born Free” association was founded for prisoners and missing soldiers, in light of the dead end the State of Israel finds itself in with respect to the fate of Ron Arad.