Twenty-five years after the capture of Air Force navigator Ron Arad
by enemy agents, letters he wrote his wife and daughter in 1986 were revealed for the first time on Saturday.
Channel 2 aired the content of several letters and portions of a diary written by Arad, in the first few weeks of his captivity.
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Arad was captured by the Shiite militia Amal in 1986, after his F-4 Phantom jet was shot down in Lebanese airspace. Israeli intelligence concluded that within the first two years of his captivity, Arad was turned over to Hezbollah
and then to Iran.
'I will never leave you again' (Photos: Channel 2, 'Uvda')
Three letters and two photos of Arad were relayed to his family as proof of life in 1987. The last evidence to that effect was relayed in 1988.
Arad speaks of his longing for his wife and then-baby daughter. In line after line of neat handwriting he seeks to reassure them of his love and hope for reuniting with his family, while also trying to hide several clues as to his location.
'I will come back. In a year? Two years?'
The diary was shuffled around in Lebanon
for 22 years before Israel
learned of its existence. In 2008, a copy of it was given to Israel as part of the Goldwasser-Regev
prisoner exchange deal with Hezbollah.
"My darling Tami and Yuval – I try to forget about you, because the memories are almost too much for me, but know that I love you. You are the only thing that keeps me from thinking about the absolute worse," Arad wrote on November 1, 1986.
"I promise you the following: (A) I will come back. In a year? Two years? (B) I will never leave you. Never again. Even if it means I have to stop flying. (C) We will have our loving home. Better than it's ever been."
In a letter dated November 3, 1986 he tells wife Tami: "I dreamt of you last night and it was great. We met after work and talked as we always did. And I was with you again. Waking up from that dream was hard but trust me, it gave me a few moments of happiness."
Ron Arad's whereabouts remain unknown. Israel's premise in the case is that he is still alive.