New Details of Tenenbaum's Illegal Dealings

Elchanan Tenenbaum reveals how he went to Dubai to "advise on a drug deal" and was kidnapped by Hizbullah.

Elad Benari ,

Elchanan Tenenbaum
Elchanan Tenenbaum
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Channel 2 News on Wednesday revealed some of the details of the interrogation of Elchanan Tenenbaum, who was released from Hizbullah captivity in 2004.

According to the report, Tenenbaum testified that he was addicted to gambling and that he would visit the casino in Jericho twice and sometimes three times per week.

Tenenbaum also told the investigators about the special connection he formed with the Obeid family. In the period preceding his abduction, he said, he had ran a close relationship with Qais Obeid, who was ultimately instrumental in executing Tenenbaum’s capture.

Obeid, an Israeli Arab and the grandson of former Knesset member Diyab Obeid, became a senior member of the Hizbullah terror group. In his interrogation, Tenenbaum claimed that Obeid never brought up his connection to Hizbullah and that other members of his family with whom he maintained contacts did not raise the issue either.

According to the Channel 2 report, in 2000 Tenenbaum was deep in debt and Obeid offered him to be an advisor to a drug deal. As part of the plan Tenenbaum flew to Brussels, where Obeid provided him with a fake Venezuelan passport. Tenenbaum then went on to Frankfurt, Germany and from there to Dubai. In Dubai he arrived at a certain neighborhood where he was beaten, drugged and kidnapped to Lebanon.

“I knew I was going for drug deals, that it wasn’t a European country, that I’d have to go with a fake passport,” Tenenbaum was quoted as having told interrogators. “It was understandable. It cannot be said that I did not know what the risks were.”

It should be noted that in an interview he gave to a Hizbullah television network shortly before he was released, Tenenbaum had claimed that he came to Beirut to get information on disappeared IAF navigator Ron Arad, who was kidnapped in 1986.

In the prisoner exchange deal Israel made with Hizbullah in 2004, Tenenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers who were kidnapped in October of 2000 were returned in exchange 435 terrorists. Tenenbaum later agreed to a plea-bargain and admitted to the reasons behind his travel to Dubai and described the details of his capture. In exchange, he was not tried for any crime and served no jail time

Among the terrorists Israel released was Mustafa Dirani, a Hizbullah terrorist who held Ron Arad for several years and was believed to have information on what happened to him.

Dirani later filed a lawsuit against Israel for damages he claims he suffered during his imprisonment. In July, the High Court ruled in his favor and allowed him to sue Israel for 6 million shekels in damages.

231 Israelis were subsequently murdered by terrorists released in the deal in which Tenenbaum was released.