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Copyright 1994 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post

May 22, 1994


BYLINE: BATSHEVA TSUR and news agencies

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the operation in Lebanon yesterday proved that Israel was intent on securing the release of navigator Ron Arad, whose plane was shot down over a Syrian-controlled area in Lebanon.

"First of all, we will hear who he [Dirani] gave Ron to, because it is clear he held Ron for a long period," Peres told Army Radio. "Our problem is how to reach an address. Where is he, in whose hands is he? This is one of the road signs that lead to this address.

Peres said the operation "shows that we don't forget for a moment the issue of the fate of Ron Arad in all meanings. There is hardly one outside diplomatic meeting in which we don't raise this issue directly or indirectly.

"I think the IDF deserves all congratulations for a very daring and exact operation that took out one of the most dangerous people from the place from which he initiated many operations," he added.

Ministers and MKs from across the political spectrum also expressed approval for the operation. Environment Minister Yossi Sarid called the kidnapping "another link in the chain of supreme efforts to free Ron Arad from captivity and learn the fate of the other MIAs."

Ephraim Sneh (Labor) told Israel Radio: "I hope that this splendid, wonderful, meticulous operation would try to bring Ron Arad to his family.

MK Michael Eitan (Likud), said the successful operation proved that when the IDF is given the right orders, it can carry out daring feats. "The tragedy of the Jewish people is that this government's policy usually ties the IDF's hands in its battle against Arab terror," he said.

Batya Arad, the mother of the missing airman, said, "The Arad family welcomes the operation, and we're very happy that all the Israeli soldiers returned safely. We are waiting for the results."

The action was also applauded by the International Coalition for Missing Israeli Soldiers, a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with the families of the MIAS.

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