TV Clip Does Not Shed New Light on Ron Arad, IDF Says

The Israel Defense Forces said yesterday that a clip aired on Lebanese TV on Monday about missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad did not appear to contain any new information regarding Arad's condition.

Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) broadcast the clip as a prelude to next Tuesday's film about the abduction of Israelis, Arad included, and Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails. Arad was captured in 1986, after bailing out of his plane over Lebanon.

"The IDF was not familiar with the film before it was broadcast last night, and its credibility is being examined by the relevant parties," the IDF spokesman's office said yesterday. "On the face of it, unfortunately, it appears that at this stage it does not contain new information regarding the condition and fate of Ron Arad today. The security establishment will continue to act through all means to receive new information on Ron Arad and abducted and missing IDF soldiers, and will continue to invest all integrated efforts to try and bring them home."

'The authorities knew'

Naftali Glicksberg is an Israeli producer who is working on the film; he has known about the film for eight months. When asked why he did not inform Israeli authorities eight months ago, he said, "whoever needed to know knew. Certain authorities knew."

Glicksberg said he and another Israeli producer, Osnat Trabelsi, were hired by a French production company affiliated with the Lebanese company. Glicksberg added that he had been working with the French company - not directly with the Lebanese one.

Glicksberg said the film shows Arad reciting his name, rank and job in the air force in unclear circumstances.

"It sounds like a declaration and the beginning of an interrogation, but it could also be that this was a general declaration unrelated to an interrogation," said Glicksberg.

He said it was difficult to determine whether Arad was sitting or standing, since the camera focused on Arad's face, adding that the footage may have been filmed by one of Arad's guards or someone who had access to him in the first stage of his captivity.

Glicksberg said he thought the film served internal Lebanese interests, apparently those of Hezbollah, to show the extent to which the organization has acted on behalf of the Lebanese prisoners held in Israel, especially terrorist Samir Kuntar, who has been imprisoned in Israel since 1979.