Mastermind of Eichmann’s capture passes away at 92

March 24, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin are among those who are mourning the death of Rafi Eitan, the man who masterminded the capture of Adolf Eichmann.

Rafi Eitan and Eichmann during his trial in Israel

The World Jewish Congress said it mourns the death of the legendary Israeli intelligence officer and cabinet member Rafi Eitan, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 92. Among his life’s work, Eitan was in charge of the Mossad operation which led to the capture of Adolf Eichmann.

“The World Jewish Congress and our affiliated communities in more than 100 countries mourn the loss of Rafi Eitan, a founder of the State of Israel’s intelligence community, without whom one of the masterminds of the Holocaust that decimated European Jewry might never have been brought to justice,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

“Rafi Eitan fought endlessly and tirelessly across continents to ensure that those responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and the attempted destruction of millions more be brought to trial and punished,” Lauder said. “He was also a champion in the struggle for the restitution of Holocaust-era Jewish property who devoted himself to restoring a modicum of dignity for the victims and their families.”

“He was a dedicated soldier who risked his life for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. We extend our deep condolences to Rafi’s family,” Lauder s

In Israel, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and Mossad personnel express deep sorrow over the passing of Rafi Eitan.

“The late Rafi 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.

Rafi was a first-class fighter and commander; he was original and courageous and led countless daring and complex Mossad missions and actions including the capture of Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann. 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.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “My wife Sara and I, together with the people of Israel, mourn the passing of Rafi Eitan.

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.

Over the years he took part in public life, was an Israeli government minister and worked to return Jewish property that was taken during the Holocaust.

He was a personal friend of our family. His wisdom, wit and commitment to the people of Israel and our state were without peer. We mourn his passing.”

President Reuven Rivlin added: “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 a deep appreciation for his contribution to the people and the country.”

In Australia president of the ZFA, Jeremy Leibler said, “Rafi Eitan was a hero of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. His service did not begin or end with the capture of Eichmann. He fought in the pre-State Haganah and was injured in the war of independence in 1948. He later served in a leadership capacity in Israeli Intelligence before being elected as a member of the Knesset. These are some of the known achievements of Rafi Eitan and are likely dwarfed by the many operations undertaken in secret that played a critical role in securing the safety of the State of Israel and diaspora Jewry. We mourn his passing. Israel and the Jewish people need more Rafi Eitans.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein added: “The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council wishes to acknowledge his massive contribution to the security of the state of Israel as part of the Mossad and Shin Bet and in other roles, including serving as Minister for Pensioner Affairs from 2006 to 2009.
In particular, he inspired people worldwide as the commander of Israel’s daring operation to capture the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 and to transport him to Israel where he was tried and convicted.
AIJAC expresses sincere condolences to Mr. Eitan’s family and to the people of Israel.”


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