His secret has been kept for the 781 days he was held in an Iranian prison, but now it can be told: Joshua Fattal, the 29-year-old hiker from Elkins Park, PA, is Jewish.
He and Shane Bauer were arrested while hiking near the Iraqi-Iranian border in July 2009 and accused of spying for the US and the Zionist and sentenced to eight years in prison. In a Sunday press conference on their return to the US, they made clear they considered themselves hostages and the $1 million payment for their release was ransom, not bail, as the Iranians want everyone to believe.
The Omani government played a critical role in their release. Bauer’s fiance, Sarah Shourd, who was arrested in July 2009 with the two men, was released last year.
The "Jewish side of the story has largely been kept under wraps," the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent reported yesterday. Josh Fattal’s father, Jacob, was born in Iraq and moved to Israel before ultimately settling in the United States. Read "The Untold Story of Josh Fattal."