Former Mossad chief passes away

March 17, 2016 Agencies
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Major General (reserves) Meir Dagan, the tenth Director of the Mossad, passed away in Israel on March 17.

Meir Dagan

Meir Dagan

He served  as head of the Mossad from 2002 to 2011.

Dagan was born Meir Hubermann in 1945, in the city Kherson, Ukraine. In 1950, he immigrated to Israel with his family. His parents are Holocaust survivors. He is married with three children. 

Dagan enlisted in the IDF in 1963, and served in the paratrooper brigade. During the Six Day War, he served as a paratrooper company commander and fought in Sinai. In 1970, General of the Southern Command Ariel Sharon tasked Dagan with establishing the Rimon Special Unit, the activity of which led to eliminating terror in the Gaza Strip in the 1970’s. During Operation Peace of the Galilee (the First Lebanon War), he served in the armored corps as commander of the Barak brigade. Dagan was later appointed commander of the South Lebanon region, commander of the Lebanon Liason Unit, commander of the Ga’ash Formation (36th Division), advisor to the CGS on terror, head of the General Staff Operations Section, and assistant to the head of the Operations Division at the rank of Major General. 

Dagan was injured twice throughout his military service. He retired from the IDF in 1995. He received the Medal of Courage. 

In 1996, Prime Minister Shimon Peres appointed him to the Counter-Terrorism Bureau, and he was later appointed head of the bureau. In the late 1990’s, he joined the IDF General Staff, headed the Operations Section, and served as a special advisor to the CGS. 

In 2002, Prime Minister Sharon appointed Dagan Director of the Mossad. As Mossad Director, Dagan emphasized contending with the countries in the region arming themselves with non-conventional weapons, and contending with terror against Jewish and Israeli targets around the world. He changed the structure of the Mossad to adapt it to the goals he set. 

Dagan was deeply affected by the tragedy of the Holocaust experienced by his family and the Jewish people, and this was, among other things, an important factor in how he viewed the goals of the Mossad in contending with threats and defending the State of Israel. 

Dagan served as Mossad Director under Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Binyamin Netanyahu. His term was extended several times, and he retired in early 2011. 

After retiring from the Mossad, Dagan turned to business. 

In 2011, he was awarded two honors: The Chaim Herzog Award for unique contribution to the State of Israel, and the Moskowitz Prize for activity to realize Zionism. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “”I would like to express my deep sadness. Meir was a daring fighter and commander who greatly contributed to the security of the state in Israel’s wars, at the [National Security Council] Counter-Terrorism Bureau and as Director of the Mossad. The photograph in which his grandfather is being humiliated by Nazi soldiers shortly before he was murdered in the Holocaust was always before his eyes. Meir was determined to ensure that the Jewish People would never be helpless and defenseless again and to this end he dedicated his life to building up the strength of the State of Israel. In the eight years in which he served as Director of the Mossad, he led the organization to daring and pioneering operations. A great soldier has passed away; may his memory be blessed.”

President Reuven Rivlin added: “Meir was one of the bravest fighters the Jewish people has known. He was imaginative and had profound faith. His dedication to the State of Israel was absolute – he saw his own well-being linked to that of the state and did everything possible to ensure the State of Israel’s survival for generations to come. His heritage and hardships his grandfather endured in the Holocaust were etched in his mind. During the last Holocaust Memorial Day, Meir asked me as the President of Israel, to recite the names of his family, his grandfather, at the “every person has a name” ceremony. Meir Dagan, the giant of all giants – as he was known, symbolised for many the rebirth of the State of Israel from the ashes of the Holocaust. I knew Meir as an adviser, a wise man, a loving and beloved man in all his rawness, a leader and man of the people. I bow my head in his memory, and send my condolences to his family.”

Meir Dagan passed away on March 17, 2016.

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