Rafael Haddad and Avigdor Lieberman in Vienna
Rafael (Rafram) Haddad and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Vienna, Austria. Photo by Foreign Ministry
Text size

Rafael (Rafram) Haddad, the Israeli man released from a Libyan prison on Sunday, landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday afternoon, accompanied by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Lieberman thanked Libya, saying that it  "behaved responsibly" on the matter and called Libya's demands in exchange for Haddad's release "reasonable" and "logical."

In exchange for Haddad's release, Israel allowed the cargo of a Libyan-sponsored aid ship to enter the Gaza Strip in July and for Libya to construct 20 buildings for Gaza residents.

Lieberman said that the secret negotiations for Haddad's release were "not simple."

Haddad, who holds dual Israeli and Tunisian passports, arrived in Vienna late Sunday after spending five months in a Libyan prison. He was arrested by local Libyan police in March while photographing a building that once belonged to the Jewish community in Libya.

Haddad is active in a society that seeks to preserve Libyan Jewish history.

Several countries, including the United States, France and Italy were initially involved in efforts to free Haddad. When those efforts failed, Lieberman decided to use private contacts close to the Libyan regime to advance a deal. Lieberman approached a number of central and eastern European acquaintances, including Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff, a friend of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader.