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Israel received the personal weapon of pilot Ron Arad in a deal with Hizbullah in 2000, according to a report in Yediot Acharonot Thursday.
In the year 2000, Arad's family was summoned to a meeting with then-Mossad head Efraim Halevy. Halevy informed the family that their son's personal weapon, an Armalite AR-7 survival gun, was transferred to Israel in a deal negotiated with the assistance of German intelligence.
These negotiations had stretched out over the course of eight years, the paper said. Hassan Nasrallah, head of Iranian puppet militia Hizbullah, agreed to give Israel the weapon and other personal effects of Arad's in return for the release of 52 Arab prisoners from Israeli jails. Twelve of these were Lebanese and the rest from the Palestinian Authority.
The abduction of Israeli Elchanan Tenenbaum and the killing of three IDF soldiers in the Har Dov area in the same year “sped up” the deal, according to the report.
Ron Arad Hy"d was captured by Shi'ite militia Amal in 1986 after his Phantom jet was shot down over Lebanon. After years in which Israel tried to obtain information about him in every possible way, and untold suffering for his mother, wife and daughter who travelled all over the world in an attempt to find out his condition, Hizbullah informed Israel in 2008 that he was dead.
The Israeli media featured debates throughout the day on Thursday over whether this deal was true, whether it should have been done at all if true.