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The Soldier Who Vanished
August 24, 2012 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Until that point, she had been questioned in English and German. But this time a different man spoke — in what she identified as perfect Hebrew. He was dark-skinned and had a thin face. “This interrogation was different from the ones that came before,” Keunecke said. “There was a sense of expectation. It was like a show, as if they wanted to see how we reacted to each other.” - The soldier who vanished: Guy Hever, a 20-year-old artilleryman, walked out of his base on the Golan Heights 15 years ago this week. Despite searches, half-sightings, clues and theories that stretch the imagination, he has not been heard from since
posted by beisny (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I know the article seems to push the theory that he was kidnapped by the Syrians, but isn't there a possibility that he just decided to say "Screw it!" and went AWOL?
posted by jonp72 at 8:03 AM on August 24, 2012


AWOL for 15 years? That would be an impressive amount of time to stay in hiding, in a country as small and densely-populated as Israel, particularly while having your face all over the media, without anyone coming forward to say they helped you.

Aside from the kidnap theory -- which is lent some credence because there have been others held for equally-long periods without demands in Syria -- it seems plausible that that he could have committed suicide (potentially near or across the Syrian border, where his body might not be found or might have been recovered by the Syrians). He was apparently facing a disciplinary tribunal, so the idea of him doing something unfortunate and drastic does not seem wholly unbelievable.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:21 AM on August 24, 2012


Is there any chance at all that Hever defected like Charles Robert Jenkins?
posted by infinitewindow at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2012


Is there any chance at all that Hever defected like Charles Robert Jenkins?

And why would Syria miss that propaganda opportunity? Many Arab soldiers have defected to Israel, but as far as I know (I may be wrong) no Jewish Israeli soldier has defected to an Arab country.
posted by gertzedek at 8:51 AM on August 24, 2012


Well, if Marion Keunecke's story is true, and if the man she encountered really was Guy Hever, (and granted those are pretty big ifs) I'd have to point out that there's a hell of a difference between holding a man for 15 years in a tiny underground cell to fight with rats over his meager rations like Massad Abu Toameh, and having him question suspected Israeli agents in front of top brass.

If that was Hever, I can only assume that he did indeed defect. One of the few things the article tells us about him is that he was not happy with life in the Israeli army. I can see a situation where he either deliberately defected or perhaps was taken after going AWOL and accepted an offer of a better life in Syria if he worked with their intelligence. And as for why Syria would miss that propaganda opportunity, it seems he would be more valuable as an advisor, interrogator, and general intelligence asset than as a one-shot propaganda stooge.
posted by Naberius at 9:21 AM on August 24, 2012


Good point.
posted by gertzedek at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2012


If that was Hever, I can only assume that he did indeed defect.

And if it was not him, he's far more likely to be dead somewhere. Interesting story though, thanks for the post beisny.
posted by Leon at 11:14 AM on August 24, 2012


And why would Syria miss that propaganda opportunity? Many Arab soldiers have defected to Israel, but as far as I know (I may be wrong) no Jewish Israeli soldier has defected to an Arab country.

Would a Jewish defector be a propaganda opportunity to the Syrian regime, or something potentially awkward and/or embarrassing? Isn't their narrative less “Ba'athist pan-Arabism is the best system of government, and here's an Israeli Jew who recognises it as such” and more “the land belongs to the Arabs and the Jews shouldn't be there, full stop”?
posted by acb at 6:55 AM on August 25, 2012


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