The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America expressed its deep dismay at Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permitting the release of the thirteen Lebanese prisoners which Israel detained as suspected members of the Shiite Muslim Hizbollah party militia, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization.
Since 1986, Israeli air force navigator Ron Arad has been missing as his plane was downed over Lebanon. Arad was captured by Shiite militiamen, then handed to an Iranian group that was operating in Lebanon at that time. While Israel has in the course of the years and in the process of the peace negotiations released many prisoners, neither Ron Arad nor the three Israeli MIAs of the battle of Sultan Yakub have been released nor has any information about their condition or whereabouts been revealed. Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International and Communal Affairs said, “We deplore this decision by the Israeli Supreme Court. It is unconscionable that Israel has released so many prisoners, both suspects and convicted criminals, in the interest of peace and prisoner exchange and has received nothing in return concerning her own MIAs”.
“It is now fourteen years since Ron Arad was shot down over Lebanon and captured by a local Muslim militia. It is past time for his whereabouts and condition to be revealed and his release secured. The veil of silence draped over Ron Arad’s fate following the inhumane treatment he was allotted by the Iranian backed groups is criminal- neither these groups nor the Iranians who back and support them, nor Syria, which controls Lebanon, has even acknowledged if Captain Arad is dead or alive.”
“The Israeli Supreme Court’s action has not helped the plight of the Israeli MIAs, rather it has added to the atmosphere that encourages terrorism and the taking of hostages in the Middle East. As Israel has made goodwill gestures, she has been constantly rebuffed and met with demands for more concessions rather than with reciprocity.”
“As Sheikh Obeid and Mustafa Dirani still remain imprisoned by Israel, we strongly oppose any attempt to release these leaders of terrorist groups who are responsible for much terrorist activity including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.”