Rafi Eitan, Israeli master spy who caught Eichman, dies at 92

Rafi Eitan wore many hats in his service to the Jewish state, including bringing Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann to justice in Jerusalem and serving as a government minister.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Rafi Eitan, a legendary Israeli spy who led the capture of Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann, has died. He was 92.

Eitan died Saturday in Tel Aviv.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday evening, “My wife Sara and I, together with the people of Israel, mourn the passing of Rafi Eitan,” to whom he referred as “a personal friend of our family.”

Netanyhau continued, “Rafi was among the heroes of the intelligence services of the State of Israel on countless missions on behalf of the security of Israel. He took part in the capture and bringing to justice in Israel and Jerusalem of the infamous Nazi Adolf Eichmann.”

The Israeli prime minister also lauded Eitan’s work “to return Jewish property that was taken during the Holocaust,” concluding, “His wisdom, wit and commitment to the people of Israel and our state were without peer.”

Eitan was perhaps most well-known for his role in the 1960 operation to capture Eichmann in Argentina and bring him to trial in Jerusalem, which remains one of the Mossad’s most historic missions. It brought to life the horrors of the Nazi “Final Solution” to commit genocide against the Jewish people, of which Eichmann was the architect.

Later in life Eitan entered politics and served as a Cabinet member.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also commented on Eitan’s passing, remarking, “We have lost a brave fighter whose contribution to Israel’s security will be taught for generations to come. Rafi was a born fighter who stuck to his mission and to what he knew to be right. Our heads are bowed today in his memory, and we part from him in sorrow and thanks, and with deep appreciation for his contribution to the people and the country.”

In addition to other security officials, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen also expressed sorrow over Eitan’s passing, announcing, “Eitan was a pillar of the intelligence community in general, and the Mossad in particular. We will always esteem his contribution to the security of the State of Israel from his days as a young fighter in the Palmach. His work and his actions will be etched in gold letters in the annals of the state.”

Cohen added, “The great majority of his operations cannot be publicized but they contributed greatly to the security of the State of Israel. The foundations that Rafi laid in the first years of the state are a significant layer in the activities of the Mossad even today. The people of Israel owe him much. May his memory be blessed.”