German Scholar Claims: I Saw Missing IDF Soldier in Syria
14 years after his disappearance, Israel may have received a clue about the whereabouts of missing soldier Guy Hever.
Hever was last seen on August 17, 1997, at the base in the Golan Heights where he served. He then disappeared and there has been no information about his whereabouts. In the first days after his disappearance, his commanders thought that Hever had decided to commit suicide over a dispute which had broken out between him and his commanding officer and for which he was court-martialed. Over the years, however, it was suggested that he was kidnapped to Syria and has been held there, alive, ever since.
Now, according to a Channel 2 News report which aired Tuesday, Israel has received new information about Hever.
According to the report Miriam Keunike, a German citizen, claimed to have seen Hever in Syria six years ago.
Keunike, a researcher of Judaism by profession, has visited several Muslim countries in recent years, among them Iran and Syria. Six years ago, during a visit to the Syrian city of Aleppo, she was arrested by the Syrian intelligence and taken for questioning in Damascus. Keunike claimed that the translator during the interrogation was none other than Hever.
She was later released and returned to Germany, where she was questioned by German intelligence. Channel 2 showed footage of a meeting a few months ago between Keunike and Hever’s mother, Rina, in which Keunike is seen saying, “His face was very narrow. The color of his skin was brown. He was shy.”
She insisted that the man before her was indeed the missing soldier, in part because he spoke Hebrew.
“He did not speak one word in Arabic,” Keunike said. “There were three people in the room: one writing the protocol, one who translated and one asking the questions.”
Channel 2 News said that Israel was aware of Keunike’s testimony to the Germans but did not take it seriously. Recently, it was decided to investigate the matter further and she was summoned to retell her story in Israel. This led to her later meeting with Hever’s mother.
“The Germans gave me a picture of Ron Arad, but he looked different [than the man who was present during my interrogation],” Keunike said during her meeting with Rina Hever. “I found information and pictures of Guy Hever. I saw his picture and knew that he was the man who was present during my interrogation."
Rina Hever told Channel 2 that after meeting Keunike she met with German intelligence chief Ernst Uhrlau, who she said had told her, “They [the Germans] cannot be 100% certain that she saw Guy, but they said the reliability of her testimony was very high.”
Unfortunately, Hever added, “Because of the situation in Syria the Germans told me that there’s not much they can do about Guy at the present time. They used to have influence in Syria but that influence has diminished recently.”