Rafi Eitan, a former Israeli minister, Shin Bet and Mossad officer, and the legendary spy who led the famed capture of Adolf Eichmann, died on Saturday at the age of 92.
The Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where Eitan was hospitalized, issued the announcement of his death to the media.
As head of the Mossad, Eitan commanded the 1960 intelligence operation that captured Nazi war criminal and Holocaust organizer Eichmann in Argentina and took him back to Israel for prosecution.
After a career that also saw him brought into the spotlight for handling American spy Jonathan Pollard, Eitan was elected to the Knesset in 2006 as head of the Gil Pensioners party, serving as pensioner affairs minister until 2009.
“I had a heart operation a year ago, I can’t see anything and I can’t hear anything, but I run every morning, I sculpt and my wife says I’m doing well,” Eitan said on becoming a lawmaker at age 79.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on his passing calling him a “beloved person” and “hero of the Israeli intelligence community.”
“My wife Sara and I mourn alongside the people of Israel the passing of Rafi Eitan,” Netanyahu said. “Rafi was among the heroes of the intelligence services of the State of Israel on countless missions on behalf of the security of Israel.”
President President Reuven Rivlin (C) poses for a group picture with former judge Gabriel Bach (C-top), former minister Rafi Eitan (L-top) and Mickey Goldman, who was a member of a special police unit (Bureau 06) during a ceremony at the presidential compound in Jerusalem marking 55 years since the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, on January 27, 2016. (AFP/GALI TIBBON)
“He was a personal and close family friend. His wisdom, wit and commitment to the people of Israel and our state were without peer. We mourn his passing,” Netanyahu said.