Former Mossad Director Meir Dagan passed away on Thursday, following a years-long battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.
Dagan, who was first appointed to the Mossad by Ariel Sharon, served from 2002 to 2011, undertaking some of the agency’s most ambitious anti-terror operations.
Dagan was widely believed to be responsible for numerous assassinations of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists abroad, earning him a reputation as “superman” in the Arab world.
Born at the end of World War II to Jewish refugees who had narrowly escaped the Holocaust, Dagan was a decorated soldier who served with distinction and was wounded multiple times in the line of duty.
First enlisting in 1963, Dagan fought on the southern front in the 1967 Six Day War, was a member of an elite commando unit in the early 1970s, and was a unit commander involved in the crossing of the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Dagan later served as a commander in Lebanon in the 1980s, and continued his military service through the mid-1990s.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remembered Dagan as 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.”
Late in his term as Mossad Director, Dagan was involved in Israel’s campaign to halt Iran’s nuclear program, which included the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.