Ahmed Jamal Daif, an Israeli Arab who was held by Lebanon for approximately six months, returned to Israel Thursday. The exchange took place at the Rosh Hanikra border crossing around noon and shortly afterwards he was taken into police custody for interrogation.
Daif, 33, who is from the village Ara, drifted into Lebanese water in September. It is unclear whether he was accidentally carried by the tide or whether he purposely swam past the maritime border. He was found in a diving suit at the southern Lebanese border town of Naqoura.
He was then handed over to Lebanese forces and Hezbollah for interrogation. They were trying to ascertain whether he was spying for Israel.
Daif’s mother, Nihad, reportedly learned of her son’s arrest after watching Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s TV station. She then approached Knesset members for help. She also wrote letters to Lebanese authorities, declaring her son is not a spy.
The family was told Daif was visited in jail by Red Cross representatives.
Daif worked as a chef at a restaurant in Netanya, according to his brother, Ashams. He was going through an emotional breakdown, Ashams said in a radio interview, but contended that he was not linked to political activities.
Asher Zeiger contributed to this report.