Air force Col. (Res.) Yaakov Ovadia revealed on Monday that he was the pilot originally assigned to the mission on which navigator Ron Arad crashed and went missing.
Maj. Ron Arad, then a student at the Technion, was called in to replace Ovadia, who had to attend a memorial ceremony the day of the mission.
In an interview to Army Radio, Ovadia criticized the way Israel's goverments since 1986 have managed efforts to secure Ron Arad's freedom. The colonel said he was sure that if he had been the one in the cockpit that day, the case would have been handled very differently.
Ovadia said the navigator's case was handled carelessly because Arad was a young pilot of junior rank who didn't know anything that could be considered critical strategic information.