With Israelis fixated on kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Ynet today published a two-part interview with Tami Arad, wife of missing Israeli airman Ron Arad, who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. This is Arad’s first interview in 16 years.
The interview notes that the Arads’ daughter, Yuval, who was an infant when her father went missing, is now in law school. The piece also alludes to a man in Tami’s life. She has not been willing to declare her husband dead in order to get out of her status as an aguna, a "chained woman" who can not remarry until her husband’s death is proven, or until he grants her a divorce.
Arad, says interviewer Yair Lapid, " is still assessing, anxious, the price of coming in from the proverbial media cold. She knows we prefer her to remain exactly where we left her – the widow that isn’t one, the child forced to raise a child on her own. Our collective memory has encased her in a glass bell, as if she herself were captive."
In the interview, published mostly in Q&A form with Lapid’s musings interspersed throughout, Tami discusses the case of Karnit Goldwasser, whose husband’s body was returned to Israel last year in a prisoner exchange:
Lapid: Karnit Goldwasser did things differently.
Arad: Define "differently."
Lapid: She was able to make the world understand that she was a keg of gunpowder and that we better do something before she explodes.
Lapid: You didn’t.
Arad: We’re not cut from the same cloth.
Arad: Karnit learned a lot from our case. She pulled all the resources to end her nightmare as soon as possible. She succeeded where I failed, if you like. Udi came back. Ron didn’t.
Lapid: Her message, basically, was, "I don’t want to be Tami Arad."
Lapid: Does that bother you?
Arad: I’m fine with it.