American hiker Josh Fattal freed by Iran has Israeli father


For more than two years, relatives of Josh Fattal, one of the two American hikers freed from prison in Iran last week, managed to hide a vital piece of information from his captors: Fattal’s family is Israeli.

Jacob Fattal, Josh’s father, immigrated to Israel from Basra, Iraq in 1951. He lived with his parents and siblings in the Kiryat Ono transit camp, and later in Pardes Katz. After his military service, he left for the United States, where he studied engineering and raised a family. Today, he is the publisher of a high-tech magazine distributed in the United States, Europe and Asia.

“We’re very happy; it’s the greatest gift we could have dreamed of receiving for Rosh Hashanah,” Jacob Fattal told Haaretz yesterday.

To avoid drawing attention to the family’s background, Josh’s brother and mother led the campaign to free him, while Jacob refrained from giving media interviews.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, both 28, and Bauer’s girlfriend Sarah Shourd, 32, were arrested by Iranian soldiers in 2009 as they were hiking near the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq.

Read more at Haaretz.com.