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Freed U.S. Hiker Josh Fattal Successfully Concealed Israeli Father from Iranian Captors

Josh Fattal, one of three American hikers imprisoned in Iran after illegally entering the Islamic Republic in 2009, managed to successfully conceal the fact that his father is Israeli from his captors.

According to Haaretz, Jacob Fattal, originally from Basra, Iraq, emigrated to Israel in 1951. After completing his compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he resettled in the United States, studying engineering and raising a family.

Josh Fattal’s family, as well as the U.S. and Israeli media, managed to successfully hide his father’s Israeli citizenship from his Iranian captors. “I want to thank the media in the United States and Israel for cooperating with us,” Jacob told Haaretz.

How did Fattal manage to conceal such a potentially troublesome detail from his captors?  Josh’s brother and mother spearheaded efforts to secure his release while Jacob remained in the background, shunning the media.

“We’re very happy; it’s the greatest gift we could have dreamed of receiving for Rosh Hashanah,” Jacob told Haaretz, adding that now that Josh is free he would very much like to contact the family of Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier captured by Palestinian resistance fighters more than five years ago.

“I listen to Israeli radio here and every now and then I hear Aviva Shalit talk,” he told Haaretz, referring to Gilad’s mother. “I wanted very much to call her and encourage her, tell her my heart is with her and [her husband] Noam, but I stopped myself because we were making a special effort not to make a big deal of it. Now I can talk to her.”

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