mia2b.jpg (4487 bytes)

Copyright 2002 Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem Post

July 19, 2002

HEADLINE: Genetic Samples from Iran don't Match Ron Arad's Family

BYLINE: David Rudge

A secret mission which briefly raised hopes so uncovering details about the fate of missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad has ended in disappointment.

Blood, urine, and saliva samples reported to have been taken from the body of Arad were tested by experts at the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir and checked against samples from members of Arad's family, but no match was found.

Further tests are to be carried out at the Bnai Zion (Rothschild) Hospital in Haifa, although hopes they might produce different results are dim.

The samples were reported to have been brought from Iran, where Arad is thought to have been held for a year or more after his capture in Lebanon 16 years ago. Since then, nothing concrete has been learned of his fate.

The samples were brought here by an Israeli businessman, Nati Meir, who lives in Romania, after he was contacted by a leading Romanian politician know to have good contacts in the Arab world. The politician said he was aware of he search for information about Arad and offered to help through an Iranian intermediary who, he said, would obtain evidence about the missing navigator. Meri, who has accused of fraud and is in debt, contacted the defense establishment via the Israeli Embassy in Bucharest about the offer.

At first it was thought tat it was another attempt to extort money from the state in the Arad case. An agreement, however, was reached under which payment, $150,000, would only be made on receipt of genetic samples proved to be from Arad.

The Israeli businessman traveled to Azerbaijan to meet the Iranian intermediary, placing himself in no little danger. He eventually received the samples and brought them to Israel, only to be disappointed by the test results.

He had reportedly asked for charges to be dropped if the evidence about Arad proved positive. He subsequently said he would donate the money he received for his expenses to a hospital here. Yoske Harari, head of "The Fellowship for Ron Arad's Release," was put in charge of the money, to be paid to the Romanian and his Iranian contact in the event the samples were proved to have been taken from Arad.

Harari, who confirmed the story, said the money had not been handed over and would now be returned to the state.

"In the past, we have signed many agreements in an effort to get letters of information about Ron, but either the promised product was not forthcoming or the people concerned simply ran off with the money," said Harari.

"This time, the agreement stated that I would hold the money and payment would be made to the Romanian with the connection to Iran only if the evidence proved reliable, which did not happen." "I have no complaints about the Israeli businessman, who endangered himself to get these samples, and was so disappointed he said he would donate the travel expenses he received to a hospital."

"The various governments of Israel have done a lot to try to find Ron, but I would say that it was not enough, because the fact is that Ron Arad is still not here," Harari added.

Return to Archive