By Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot
THE NEWSWEEK - 5/11/17
The secret, circuitous journey began late one night in February 1979 when an unmarked Boeing 707 took off from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. Roughly 15 hours later, after a stop in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat and a refueling break in Kolkata, India, the plane landed in Guangzhou, China, where a group of German-speaking Chinese navigators boarded the aircraft for its fourth and final journey—to a sealed-off military base on the outskirts of Beijing. There, they went to a nearby compound. The “foreigners”—as the Chinese referred to the group aboard—barely spoke to one another, assuming Chinese officials had bugged the cabins. If there was something important to discuss, they went out into the cold, polluted night. The Chinese thought the group consisted of foreign businessmen who had connections with several leading international defense companies, including some from Israel. But that was just a cover. In reality, the delegation included Gabriel Gidor, the CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, the leading government-owned defense company, along with senior representatives from the Israeli foreign and defense ministries.