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Former Mossad director during Yom Kippur War passes away at age 98

Zvi Zamir led the spy agency during Israel’s largest crisis

Zvi Zamir outside the Jerusalem theatre on February 1, 2018. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Maj.-Gen. Zvi Zamir, the fourth director of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, passed away on Monday at the age of 98, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday.

Zamir immigrated as a young child from Poland, becoming a significant member of Israel’s founding generation. He served as a commander in the Jewish commando unit Palmach and later in the newly-founded Israel Defense Forces, taking part in the 1948 War of Independence.

He went on to command the Givati Brigade and the IDF's Southern Command before Prime Minister Levi Eshkol appointed Zamir as director of Israel’s vaunted spy agency, the Mossad, where he served from 1968-1974, including during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the hunt for the perpetrators of the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972.

In the run-up to the Yom Kippur War, Zamir's warnings of a surprise attack went unheeded. Later, following the Agranat Commission Report on the IDF’s failings before the war, Zamir would chair the committee tasked with proposing improvements in Israel’s intelligence services.

In the last years of his service, Zamir spearheaded the worldwide hunt for the leaders of the ‘Black September’ terror group responsible for the 1972 murder of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, dubbed “Operation Wrath of God.”

“The Mossad family bows its head at the passing of a modest man who was imbued with values and who believed in the personal responsibility of the agency's commanders and employees, in their various professions, as well as in its integrity and striving for contact.”

“He was a model and inspiration of a brave and involved commander with integrity, whose heart and words were in synch, and who was always concerned about the good of the country and its security. May his memory be blessed,” the Mossad wrote in a statement.

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz eulogized Zamir as “an Israeli patriot who loved the land.

The security of Israel was his life’s work,” Gantz wrote on X (Twitter).

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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