The control stick of an Israeli warplane that took part in the famous bombing mission of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 is going to be auctioned.
The stick for an F-16 aircraft, which includes the red weapon release button, will be sold at the end of the week for an asking price of $ 50,000.
The pilots who flew the Operation Opera mission were divided over whether or not the side-throttle stick should be sold, the Ynet website reported on Wednesday.
Collar. (Res) Zeev Raz, the squadron commander at the time leading the mission, said he had no feelings one way or the other.
“I am not opposed to the sale of the stick, nor am I in favor of it,” he told Ynet. “If anyone wants to sell it, that’s fine.”
Raz said he also has a mission control stick.
“I will not sell it because for me it is an emotional memory, it is priceless,” he said.
However, Brigadier. Gen. (Res) Amir Nachumi, who was also the mission pilot, said he “totally disagrees”.
“It’s very sad that someone is selling an item like this,” he said. “There are a lot of people who have access to items like this or who use this ability to make money – it’s something that really saddens me.”
Nachumi surmised that the vendor pulled some strings at the time in order to take possession of the coin.
The stick up for auction currently belongs to a former senior member of the Israel Air Force’s 117th Squadron who led the mission to destroy the reactor.
A total of eight F-16 jets carried out the bombardments of the reactor during the raid of June 7, 1981.
According to the report, the lateral control stick came from aircraft number 129 which was flown by the Colonel. (Res) Hagai Katz.
The seller, who requested anonymity, told Ynet that he came into possession of the baton “through squadron personnel, and I prefer not to say more as it is a topic. sensitive”.
He justified the asking price by claiming that earlier this year part of a jet plane with the symbol of an Israeli squadron that crashed in the 1950s was sold in Europe for $ 60,000. .
The sale is organized by Pentagone Auctions with Garage Sale Collection.
Eyal Ilya, of Pentagon Auctions, said he expects the stick to cost significantly more than asking price and has already received an offer of $ 100,000, which has been declined.
The joystick, which appears worn, has two series of engraved numbers. One is a date, 5.6.81, the day before the bombing of the reactor. The other, partially discolored, is 12.81, which would indicate the date the stick was taken out of service.
The 129 aircraft was sold earlier this year to a US company that provides training services to the US Air Force, according to the Ynet report.