The passing of a master spy: 'His work will be written in gold letters'

Master spy Rafi Eitan passed away on Saturday at age 92, he was mourned on Sunday by leaders of the Israeli intelligence community.

March 24, 2019 17:15
2 minute read.
The passing of a master spy: 'His work will be written in gold letters'

Coffin of late Mossad agent Rafi Eitan as he was laid to rest on Sunday March 24 2019 . (photo credit: A. SHOSHANI)


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Mossad director Yossi Cohen said that the work of late Mossad agent and alleged master spy Rafi Eitan “will be written in gold letters in the history books of this country.”

Cohen called the late Eitan “one of the pillars of the intelligence community” in an official statement released after Eitan passed on Saturday at the age of 92.

His Sunday funeral was attended by former prime minister Ehud Olmert under which Eitan served in the capacity of minister in charge of over-seeing the welfare of elderly Israelis as well as an official honorary delegation on behalf of the Knesset.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Eitan would be “honored by the nation” highlighting that he had taken part "in the capture of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and brought him to a just trial in Jerusalem."

Netanyahu said Eitan was a “close personal friend” and that “his wisdom was unrivaled.”

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called Eitan “one of the greatest warriors on behalf of the people of Israel.”

Calling Eitan “a bold and sophisticated warrior,” Gantz said he was a man “who knew to do in darkness bold moves which educated our enemies about Israeli creativity and courage.”

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert called Eitan “a smart, cunning and sharp person, who remained capable until his last day.”   
Eitan was the intelligence officer who operated Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in the mid-1980s.

The former top spy was born in Ein Harod in 1926 to immigrant parents from Russia, and grew up in Ramat Hasharon.
He joined the pre-state Palmach underground, and was injured in the 1948 War of Independence.

In 2014, on the television program Uvda, Eitan himself said he did not regret his actions from a national interest perspective, but apologized on a personal level for his role in the Pollard affair.

In his interview, he included how he had personally ordered the prevention of Pollard from entering the Israeli Embassy in Washington, which might have allowed him to avoid three decades in US prison.

Pollard gave Israel large amounts of intelligence from 1984-1985 in his capacity as a US naval intelligence officer. For his actions he was sent to prison from 1985-2015.

According to Yossi Melman, writing in the Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv, he also helped catch the Israeli-Soviet spy Yisrael Bar and stole designs of the French Mirage aircraft.

Eitan is survived by his widow, Miriam Peled, a daughter he raised with Miriam from her previous marriage and two sons from their marriage.


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