Olmert to honor Rafi Eitan at TLV event

Former Mossad agent Avner Avraham to share new details of Eichmann capture

April 25, 2019 12:51
3 minute read.
Olmert to honor Rafi Eitan at TLV event

Avner Avraham at the opening of the Operation Finale exhibit in the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2017.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert will pay tribute to the late Mossad agent and minister Rafi Eitan at an event in Tel Aviv on Sunday afternoon.

Olmert will speak about Eitan after a presentation from former Mossad agent Avner Avraham about the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann in the 1960s.

Eitan will be honored with the "Mensch Award" alongside a long list of individuals who were instrumental in the operation to track down the Holocaust mastermind: Gabriel Bach, Miki Goldmann, Gideon Hausner, Peter Malkin, Yitzhak Elron, Sara Elron and Joe Klein.

The event, which will be held at the Palmah Museum on Sunday, is organized by the Mensch Foundation, which was founded by Steven Geiger. Olmert, who was released from prison in 2017 after serving time for fraud and bribery, will speaking about Eitan, who led the operation to capture Eichmann and died last month at age 92.

Avraham, who served in the Mossad for 28 years, has became an expert on the Eichmann capture, organized an exhibit that on the topic that was displayed in the Knesset and served as a consultant on the recent film Operation Finale, starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley.

"This is the whole idea of how to talk about the Holocaust today," Avraham told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. "It's not fun to go to Holocaust museums, people don't go... in the future, when we won't have Holocaust survivors who can fly and talk to groups, we have to find creative ways to talk about it."

Since mounting an extensive exhibit on the operation eight years ago, Avraham said he has continued to uncover new testimony and new details of the events of 1960.

"I met, in Miami, a woman, 87 years old, who told me that she took part in the operation," he said. "She told me that together with her husband they had an optician shop in Argentina, and Eichmann used to come in to make himself glasses from time to time."

It was in that shop, the woman told Avraham, that Mossad agents came in "to develop the picture of Eichmann they took during surveillance... I showed her in my exhibit the envelope from the shop and she said, 'yes, that's my shop.'"
Avraham said he was proud to contribute to the behind-the-scenes work of the Operation Finale film.

"I think the importance of this movie is the fact that Hollywood made a movie about the Holocaust but it's not a Holocaust movie," he said. The former Mossad agent said he pointed out to the film's directors that all of the agents in the operation would never have flown on the same airline, and he also verified the accuracy of the details of Eichmann's visit to Hungary.

At the same time, he said, he understood why certain plot points were changed for the sake of Hollywood.

"They made the doctor in the movie become a beautiful blonde woman who had a love affair with a Mossad agent," he said. "But it's OK. It's OK for the movie - it's not a documentary."

The film, he said, has reached audiences who wouldn't otherwise learn much about the Holocaust.

"I know that people in Arab countries - even in Iran - saw the movie and they saw the movie because they want to learn more about the Mossad and to see Ben Kingsley," he said. "But when they see the movie, they learn about the Holocaust, they see flashbacks from the war and they see the Eichmann trial."

Sunday's event will be held at 10 Lebanon st. Ramat Aviv from 3 p.m. For further information contact menschfoundation@yahoo.com

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