On the afternoon of February 26, 2021, the cargo ship “Helios Ray” sailed in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, bound for Singapore, with dozens of cars on board. The ship safely passed through the Strait of Hormuz and began entering the Gulf of Oman a few hours later around midnight. It was hit by an explosion without warning near the coast of Oman, causing damage and forcing it to reduce its speed and return to the nearest port. It then docked at the Port of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for repairs. Emirates Airlines.
There were no injuries to the ship’s crew, and repairs were completed within days and the ship quickly returned to continue its voyage. However, the blame at the time was directed at Iran rather than the possibility of technical failure (1). Although the ship flew the flag of the Bahamas, like many cargo ships flying the flags of small Central American countries, it was owned by none other than Israeli businessman Abraham Ongar (known as “Rami”) and his ship’s owner. Shipping company “Ray”. Ray Shipping.
Later images of the ship released by multiple sources revealed the nature of the explosion, which in some images appeared to have come from inside the ship as internal parts appeared to protrude outwards, while an Israeli minister said it was likely from within the ship. explode. As stated in (1), this appeared to be an operation conducted by Iranian naval special forces the night before. However, the Iranian government immediately denied these accusations, and an account affiliated with the Al-Mayadeen channel closer to Tehran even posted a tweet on Twitter (currently x) on March 7, 2021, which included a paragraph by an Iranian Video taken by a person. An Iranian drone flew over the ship, showing no damage to its external structure, clearly indicating that the explosion did not come from the outside and therefore Iran had nothing to do with what happened to the ship.
Scene of Israeli ship captured by Iranian drone at sea #OmanIt confirmed that the hole in it was not caused by an external attack, but rather elements within it caused the explosion.
An Iranian official who requested anonymity confirmed to Al-Mayadeen that there was no reason to take action against the Israeli cargo ship. pic.twitter.com/RZfxespDu4
– Al-Mayadeen Channel (@AlMayadeenNews) March 7, 2021
Less than two months later, another ship belonging to Unger and his company was attacked by Iran. This time, Tehran did not deny or confirm its involvement and remained silent, especially after the target this time came from outside the ship. Just two days after the ship exploded, Tehran accused the Israeli occupying power of masterminding a nuclear site in Iran. facilities, the attack on the ship was widely believed to be an act of retaliation by Iran. On April 13, an Iranian ship believed to have launched a missile at the “Hyperion Ray”, a cargo ship also flying the Bahamian flag that was sailing in the Arabian Gulf at the time, but did not cause serious damage (2).
As for recent events, the attack on the night of Sunday, November 19, carried out by Yemen’s Houthis, who have decided to militarily align themselves with the Gaza Strip, escalated beyond the launch of missiles and drones. .. some of them arrived From northern Yemen to the southern part of the occupying power. The Houthis seized a bulk carrier on its way from Turkey to India, and they did not limit themselves to targeting it from a distance as in previous operations.Houthis take formal action He said “The group will target all ships owned or managed by Israeli companies,” Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said on the group’s Telegram app channel, calling on other countries not to send their employees there The organization works. Get on those ships.
Although the occupying power denies official ties to the ship, saying it does not belong to that country and that no citizens work on board; the Bahamas-flagged ship turns out to belong to a British company called “Ray” in the Isle of Man under British sovereignty all. Unfortunately for him, the operation once again fell to Unger, as another cargo ship in his fleet, the Galaxy Leader, took over the mission, although some US media sources indicate that he no longer is the official owner of this cargo ship (3).
Abraham Unger.. Likud Members and Bribery
These successive events lead us to try to discover the truth about Unger’s own character and the role he played. Abraham Unger was born in Tel Aviv (Jaffa) in 1946 to a wealthy Jewish family, who sent him to private school in England before returning to the occupied country to study law at Tel Aviv University. After graduating in 1971, Abraham served in the Israeli occupation forces and joined the intelligence service. Abraham did not have to wait long to enter the world of trade and commerce. In the late 1960s, before finishing college, he started a company to import air-conditioning systems, and then entered the automobile import market in the 1970s(4).
During this time, Unger met Israeli general and Likud member Ezer Weizman, who became defense minister in 1977 and later served as president of the occupying power from 1993 to 2000 . From that moment on, unbroken ties with the Likud world began, which helped Abraham expand his economic and political activities. Through Weizmann, Abraham was introduced to David Kaulitz, who had served as a consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and owned Alor Corporation, a company under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. During his reign, he had commercial activities with Iran. With these relationships, Abraham successfully launched a campaign to export air conditioners to Iran until it was halted in 1979 due to the Iranian Revolution (5).
The business partnership between Unger and Weizmann was solidified in the 1980s, and in addition to expanding the car import business, Weizmann also entered the real estate market and shipping companies. At the same time, Weizmann founded the Yachard Party, with Unger managing its finances and owning the Ray Shipping Company. Unger’s first scandal came to light in 2000, when he was accused of making a small payment of $27,000 to Weizmann while he was minister in the mid-1980s, an incident that led to Weizmann’s resignation that same year Presidency, although his second presidential term was extended to one year. 2003(6).
During this period, amid steady growth in the use of global sea freight, Unger underwent a major transformation, becoming one of Israel’s most important businessmen and, during the same period, one of the largest importers of automobiles on the Israeli market ( 7). However, Unger’s name stirred controversy again in 2008, when his company gained the rights to import Korean Kia cars to the occupying power at the expense of former importer Michael Levy. A legal battle began between the two, Yossi Cohen, and Israel’s Mossad, which backed Unger in 2013. At the time, it was said that the settlement agreement in the “Kia” case in favor of the latter included a donation of approximately $340,000 to a synagogue owned by Cohen in front of his home, which some viewed as a bribe to the Mossad chief (8) .
Unger has been mentioned from time to time over the past decade. His name emerged in a high-profile case during the trial of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, where an investigation revealed that Abraham promised to pay Shula Zakken, a former employee of Olmert’s office, $10,000 a month if she The recording she provided to the court was not submitted. The Holy Land trial was one of the largest corruption cases to shock public opinion in Israel, with eight officials and businessmen convicted in 2014, led by Olmert himself (9).
Abraham’s name resurfaced in the 2017 trial of businessman Nokhi Dankenman, who was accused of financial manipulation and inducing his friends to buy shares in a company he owned in order to boost the company’s valuation and recoup millions of dollars in losses (10 ). In February 2019, Abraham was mentioned this time through his sister Sarah Unger, who provided financial support for the founding of the Hossein Lisrael Party, which Founded by Benny Gantz, who served as Defense Minister from 2020 to 2021 and is a member of the current government. Abraham currently has extensive links with most right-wing leaders and the Likud party led by current Defense Minister Yov Galant, for whom Abraham purchased tickets to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia (11). Finally, Unger was mentioned in the leak of the “Paradise” documents, which revealed a list of owners and companies operating in tax havens, as Abraham’s links to dozens of business entities established in tax havens were confirmed (12).
Despite years of close ties to the Israeli far-right and bribery scandals that have plagued his reputation, Abraham seems to know how to do his business well and how to use it to burnish Israel’s reputation. Countries that are relatively small or stay out of the spotlight. In 2013, he received an award from the Korean government for his contribution to promoting automobile trade between South Korea and the occupying powers, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy awarded him the “Industrial Service Medal”. When receiving the award in Seoul, Abraham said: “This award comes twenty years after I started my business here. I am touched, happy and honored to receive this award at this age. I have always felt that Korea and my country It’s very similar to “I found something here that I didn’t find in China and Japan, and I feel like we are partners. The hardest part is gaining the trust of the Korean government and its citizens that Israel is not a dangerous country” (13).
In addition, Unger has a special relationship with the Nikola Vaptsarov Maritime Academy in Varna, Bulgaria, where RAI Shipping employs more than 1,000 Bulgarian captains and engineers, the majority of whom are graduates of the academy. According to the man’s brief biography on the academy’s website, he has contributed to the development of maritime education in Bulgaria, supporting the training and employment of captains and the development of the academy’s maritime facilities over the past 20 years. For his efforts, Abraham received an honorary doctorate from the Academy in 2014 (14).
- Sanya Burgess. Limpet Mines and Drone Strikes: Tracking Israel’s Maritime War with Iran.
- An Israeli company’s ship was attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
- Yemeni Houthi rebels hijacked a ship in the Red Sea.
- A short biography of Abraham Unger on the website of the Nikolai Vapsarov Naval Academy in Bulgaria.
- Rami Unger: Israeli business tycoon.
- The top 30 richest people in Israel in 2019 and where their money comes from.
- G Magazine: Rami Ungar has a $500 million shipping business.
- AG closes investigation into former Mossad chief over $20,000 gift from Australian billionaire.
- Olmert associates provided loan guarantees for Gantz’s parliamentary campaign.
- Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner was convicted of securities fraud.
- The 30 richest people in Israel in 2019.
- Israel wins award for promoting auto trade.
- A short biography of Abraham Unger on the website of the Bulgarian Nikolai Vapsarov Naval Academy
- Rami Ungar – Member of the Board of Directors.
- Ray car carrier reportedly hijacked in Red Sea.