On Friday, 23 years will have passed since Israeli soldier Ron Arad was taken captive in Lebanon. The Born to Freedom Foundation, refusing to despair of returning the captive Israeli, has released a Persian-language video in Iran and Lebanon promising $10 million to anyone with information leading to Arad.
By providing information leading to the discovery of Arad's information, viewers can “guarantee your future and that of your children,” the video promises. Born to Freedom operates a confidential hotline staffed by speakers of Persian, Arabic and English, as well as a website through which staff can be reached, the narrator states.
The video also appeals to viewers' sense of humanity. “We believe that every person was born to freedom,” the narrator explains, as pictures are shown of Arad both alone and with his infant daughter.
Last week a Lebanese woman attempted to contact Born to Freedom after receiving a phone call asking for information on Arad as part of the campaign to find him. However, before she could reach the organization, she was arrested by Lebanese soldiers and accused of making contact with Israel, a crime under Lebanese law. The incident was reported by local Arab media.
Born to Freedom is offering similar rewards for information leading to the location of four other kidnapped or missing soldiers: Tzvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz, missing since a 1982 battle in Sultan Yakoub in Lebanon, Guy Hever, who was last seen in 1997 in the Golan, wearing his IDF uniform, and Majdy Halabi, a Druze soldier from Dalyat el-Karmel who was last seen hitchhiking to his base in 2005. The reward program was started in December 2004.
The organization is run by Eyal Ben-Reuven, a retired IDF Major-General. Ben-Reuven said Thursday that his organization works around the clock to find missing IDF soldiers.
“We believe that there is someone who has the information we so desperately seek,” he said, explaining how Born to Freedom can continue its work even in cases that are decades old. “Our goal is to bring the sons home to their families... We see this as our moral duty.”
"Despite the difficulties, we will not stop until we get the information clarifying Ron Arad's fate and that of the other missing and captive IDF soldiers,” he stated.