RAFI Eitan, an Israeli spy who helped capture Adolf Eichmann, died aged 92.
We explain who he was and what he accomplished. Here’s what we know.
Who was Rafi Eitan?
Rafi Eitan was an Israeli politician and intelligence officer.
He was born on November 23, 1926 in Ein Harod, Israel (then-Palestine) to Zionist immigrants from Russia.
His father was a poet and his mother was a social activist.
Eitan was one of four children.
He studied at the London School of Economics.
During World War Two he helped the illegal immigration of Jewish refugees from Europe who were fleeing Nazism into Palestine.
He was one of the founders of Israel’s vaunted intelligence community Mossad and among its most prominent figures in Israel and abroad.
He went into business and later in life entered politics and scored an election sensation in 2006 as head of the Pensioners Party, garnering seven seats in the 120-seat parliament and becoming a Cabinet minister in Ehud Olmert’s government.
He died on March 23, 2019 at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
He was married to his wife Miriam, with whom he had three children.
What did he accomplish?
Eitan is most famously known for capturing Holocaust mastermind Eichmann in Argentina and bring him to trial in 1960.
It was the Mossad’s most historic mission and remains one of the defining episodes in Israel’s history.
His trial brought to life the horrors of the Nazi “Final Solution,” which followed Eichmann’s blueprint for liquidating the entire Jewish population of Europe.
Eichmann was convicted in 1961 of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was hanged the following year the only time Israel has carried out a death sentence.
Mossad Director Yossi Cohen said the majority of Eitan’s exploits still remain unknown to the general public.
He added: “His work and his actions will be etched in gold letters in the annals of the state.
“The foundations that Rafi laid in the first years of the state are a significant layer in the activities of the Mossad even today.”
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What has Israel’s leader said of Eitan?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the tributes, saying: “Rafi was among the heroes of the intelligence services of the State of Israel on countless missions on behalf of the security of Israel.
“His wisdom, wit and commitment to the people of Israel and our state were without peer.”