- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
Unsolved mystery: Who shot Israeli military attache Joseph Alon outside home in D.C. suburb?
Question of the Day
On a warm summer night nearly four decades ago, Israeli military attache Joseph Alon was shot five times in the driveway of his Chevy Chase, Md., home, one of the bullets piercing his heart.
For his family, the hole remains.
“I remember everything,” said Yael Alon-Rosenchein, Mr. Alon’s daughter, who was 14 years old at the time of the murder. “It was very, very emotional. It still is.”
The ongoing mystery surrounding the death of Alon, the first foreign diplomat ever murdered in the nation’s capital, is explored in the Israeli documentary film “Who Shot My Father? The Story of Joe Alon,” which makes its American debut Tuesday night as part of the 22nd annual Washington Jewish Film Festival.
Directed by Liora Amir Barmatz, the film tells the story of Alon, a charismatic war hero, and the determined efforts of his grief-stricken daughters, Ms. Alon-Rosenschein and Rachel Alon-Margalit, to uncover the truth about his killing.
Also featured in the film is Fred Burton, a former State Department counterterrorism agent who grew up near the Alon family and recently wrote a book about his lifelong effort to crack the unsolved case, a tangled saga of international terrorism and Middle East geopolitics with hints of a Cold War conspiracy.
“It was almost a perfect storm of variables that caused this case to slip through the cracks,” said Mr. Burton, vice president of the Texas-based private intelligence company Stratfor and the author of “Chasing Shadows: A Special Agent’s Lifelong Hunt to Bring a Cold War Assassin to Justice.” “But cold cases are solvable if you get enough people and attention paid to them.”
In cold blood
Two summers ago, Ms. Alon-Margalit and Ms. Alon-Rosenschein came from Israel to meet Mr. Burton outside their family’s former American home, the first time the sisters had returned to the scene of their father’s death. With them was Kent Holden, one of the paramedics who treated Mr. Alon.
“Why couldn’t you just sew the heart?” Ms. Alon-Rosenchein said. “Take that one [bullet] out and make him come back?”
Early on the morning of July 1, 1973, Mr. Alon and his wife, Devora, returned home from a dinner party for a departing Israeli Embassy staffer. Mrs. Alon exited the couple’s green sedan and headed for their front porch; Mr. Alon was reaching into the back seat to retrieve his jacket when an unknown gunman standing roughly 6 feet away shot him with a foreign-made .38-caliber revolver.
The killing was front-page news, shocking Washington. Serving a three-year diplomatic posting, the 43-year-old Alon was a gregarious regular on the military and political cocktail circuits, well liked by his Pentagon counterparts.
Born on a Kibbutz in Palestine in 1929, Alon moved with his parents to Czechoslovakia and survived the Holocaust when his family sent him to England in the early days of World War II. He subsequently became an ace Israeli fighter pilot, commanding the nation’s first squadron of French-built Mirage fighter jets and devising air combat tactics that helped his nation triumph in the Six Day War of 1967.
In Washington, Alon was integral to Israel’s acquisition of U.S.-made F-4 Phantom fighters. He also was a likely source of intelligence on the combat performance of American hardware against the Soviet-supplied militaries of Egypt and Syria.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
- Taking to Twitter: Everybody's Oscar night in 140 characters
- Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
- Oscar Pistorius and the 'roid rage' defense: It's no Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card
- Spatial media: Astronaut Chris Hadfield live chats from 220 miles above earth
- Hero-worship for a cold-blooded killer: The cult of Christopher Dorner
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq