An IDF soldier was on Iranian soil for five hours last week, following an unplanned emergency landing due to the medical condition of one of the passengers on the plane.
On Thursday, journalist Barak Ravid told 103FM during Golan Yochpaz and Anat Davidov's program about the behind-the-scenes of the incident, the conduct of the female soldier and the steps taken by the IDF and Mossad following the incident.
The incident took place last week when the 19-year-old soldier was on a family vacation in Uzbekistan and was on a flight back to Israel. She was supposed to reach Dubai and transfer to another flight to Israel, with the flight to Dubai passing over the territory of Iran.
"An emergency landing was needed and the plane landed at Shiraz Airport in southern Iran, the soldier realizes that something unpleasant and problematic is happening here," Ravid said. "With a great deal of resourcefulness, she pulls out her foreign passport when the passengers go through border control, and speaks only in Russian."
"With a great deal of resourcefulness, she pulls out her foreign passport when the passengers go through border control, and speaks only in Russian."Barak Ravid
The IDF soldier then sent a text message to one of her relatives that were in Uzbekistan, and told him to "Inform the appropriate people," Ravid explained. "They inform her commanders in the army, who informed the senior offices in the IDF, and from there to the Prime Minister's Office and the Mossad.
"All this is happening while the government is meeting to approve the agreement with Lebanon. Mossad officials then contacted her, telling her not to identify herself as Israeli, and that's how she behaves, attempting not to bring any attention to herself."
After a few hours, the passengers were called to get back on the flight. "I understood that it was something like five hours, maybe a little more, and at the end, the flight took off to Dubai and from there to Israel. This event, in retrospect, ended well," Ravid claimed.
According to Ravid, the whole event took place under the shadow of IDF censorship, and even after the affair became public, there are still details that remain confidential.
"I am generally against censorship, but the claim was that there were all kinds of actions that were done during those hours when she was in Iran. They waited for some time to pass before this was published in order to protect the confidentiality of certain capabilities of people that were involved."
A potential international crisis
"In the worst case scenario, you're talking about a crisis, beyond the fact that she would probably have been taken hostage, it's an international security-political crisis. Iran is helping Russia in Ukraine, there is no nuclear deal, this thing could have really turned into a crisis that would have involved many more countries than just Iran and Israel, much more extensive than that," Ravid explained.
Regarding the fact that the IDF soldier was flying a route over Iran, which is not prohibited according to the army, Ravid said that "this is part of the problem. There is no such prohibition in my understanding. This is really an event that we are now talking about at the anecdotal level, but could become a topic that will occupy us for ten years to come."