34 years after – We remember missing Israeli navigator Ron Arad

On this day in the Hebrew calendar 34 years ago, on October 16, 1986, Israeli Air Force navigator Ron Arad was taken captive after his F-4 Phantom warplane went down over Lebanon during a mission to attack PLO terror targets.

Both Arad and the pilot, Yishai Aviram, parachuted safely to the ground. The pilot was flown to safety under fire, holding on to the bottom of an Israeli helicopter in a rescue operation. Ron was taken captive by Amal, a Lebanese Shi’ite terror group and handed over to the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

In 1987, Arad’s family received several letters and a photo of Ron confirming that he was alive and in Amal’s hands.

While in captivity Arad was reportedly sent to Iran and then back to Lebanon.

In 2016, reports citing information obtained by the Mossad and the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN) suggested Arad likely died by 1988, earlier than had been estimated in previous assessments.

Arad’s body has still not been recovered and he remains officially listed as “missing.”

Ron Arad was born in Israel on May 5, 1958. He was studying chemical engineering at the Technion when he was called up for reserve duty.

Arad left behind a wife, Tami, and a daughter, Yuval, who was 15 months old when her father disappeared.