Ron Arad's family and friends marked the Israeli MIA navigator's 50th birthday Monday in a ceremony held at the Ben Gurion Airport. During the ceremony, a huge banner posted on an Airbus 330 passenger plane carrying the slogan "Ron Arad – Born to Be Free 50 years Ago" was unveiled.
For 22 years Arad's family and friends from his IDF flying course have been celebrating his birthday without him. Each year they wish to remind the Israeli government of its moral commitment to bringing the Israeli captives home.
During the event, Arad's brother, Hen, slammed Israel's policy regarding efforts to bring the captive pilot home: "We are citizens of the state and it's our duty to do whatever it takes for it.
"But if the government sees it fit for someone to remain in captivity for so long, it should make its priorities known. And if this is not the case, it must do the utmost to bring him home."
Minister Ami Ayalon, who attended also the ceremony, said that there was a personal, as well as public commitment to see that Ron Arad can celebrate his birthday at home.