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Family's Long Battle to Find Alon Killer

Saturday, June 30, 2007

By ADAM GOLDMAN and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers

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When it appeared the FBI's investigation into the assassination of Col. Yosef Alon had stalled, the fighter pilot's family refused to relent.

Alon's wife, Dvora, turned to her government for answers, believing it had information. At the time of his death, Alon, 43, was the assistant air and naval attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. and a hero in their country.

Israel had to know something, she believed. But facts were elusive.

By the time of her death in 1995 from cancer, Dvora Alon had learned nothing about her husband's slaying outside their Maryland home.

Years passed and the family's frustration mounted. Then, in 2003, Alon's daughters Rachel Alon-Margalit and Yael Alon-Rosenschein believed they had caught a break. Ephraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, agreed to speak with them in Jerusalem about their father.

The spy master had worked out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington in 1973. Halevy said there was no proof Alon's murder was the work of terrorists. If terrorists had committed the murder, it would have surfaced, he told the sisters.

The Mossad, Israeli's foreign intelligence agency, didn't know anything, he said.

(Halevy declined to comment for this story. Yitzhak Hofi, who ran the Mossad from 1974 to 1980, said he knew nothing about the Alon case.)

Alon's daughters decided to sue. They petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice in 2004, seeking to force the state to open their records.

A year later, the court ruled in their favor, and the case was finally resolved in May. Ran Ronen, a retired brigadier general in the Israeli Air Force and one of Alon's closest friends, was given permission to view classified documents on behalf of Alon's family.

He spent more two days at the offices of the Mossad and the Ministry of Security reviewing the documents. He didn't find anything.

"I can tell you bottom line based on what I saw ... that no one in Israel ever knew who killed Joe Alon."

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Associated Press writer Aron Heller in Jerusalem contributed to this story.

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