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Seen smoking a cigarette in his cell, the voice of IAF navigator Ron Arad - Israel's most famous MIA - was heard for the first time Wednesday night in a televised video.
During the video, aired on Channel 10, Arad, seen wearing a sweat suit and speaking in accented English, tells about his studies at Beersheba University during the IAF Pilot's Course.
In the short segment, Arad is seen in a closed room and opens his remarks by stating his name and the names of his parents. "Ron Arad, Dov Arad, Batya Arad," he says. "I am a soldier in the Israeli Army."
Explaining the pilot training he underwent in the IAF, Arad said: "First we flew Highlander [airplanes]â€¦but not only airplanes. Also engines and all of the hydraulic systems."
The video, bought by Channel 10 from the Lebanese Broadcasting Company, was most probably, sources calculated, filmed in the late eighties, just a year or two after Arad was taken into captivity. Arad disappeared after his plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986.
"The first year, we studied mechanical engineering," Arad continued. "We then studied mathematics, physics, chemistry and English."
In the background, the voice of another man could be heard, most probably one of Arad's captors who was interrogating the IAF navigator. Channel 10 said that they took the film to Rafael - Israel's Armament Development Authority - where it underwent a biometric test that confirmed that Arad was the man speaking in the video.
Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah also appears in the film and claims that over the years he received remains which were claimed to be Arad's. The LBC film was a documentary of the 2000 kidnapping of three IDF soldiers. "More than once we received bones which were claimed to be Ron Arad's. Forensic tests were performed in each of these cases, and the results were negative," Nasrallah stated.
Channel 10 also aired an interview with Elhanan Tannenbaum, an Israeli businessman who was taken captive by Hizbullah and returned to Israel in 2003 together with the bodies of three IDF soldiers in exchange for 400 prisoners. In his first interview since returning to Israel, Tannenbaum spoke of the conditions he was held in, claiming that he never saw light.
"You are disconnected from the world," he said. "There is no sunlight in the cell and most of the time you are inside and can't even go out to the bathroom or take a shower."