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Birthday of Zvi Zamir, 1925

On This Day in Jewish History: March 3, 1925

On this day, 1925, Zvi Zamir, former head of Mossad, is born. Zvi was born to a Jewish family living in Poland in 1925. During Zvi’s childhood, his family left Poland and immigrated to British-occupied Palestine. Zamir served in the pre-Israeli-military as a part of the Palmach,which was the elite fighting force of the Haganah. He was still a part of the Palmach during the War of Independence and was the battalion commander. After the foundation of Israel, Zamir served as the Givati brigade (infantry) commander, the commander of the infantry school and the General of Southern Command. Zamir was appointed to the head of the Mossad by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1968. The Munich Olympic Massacre, the 1st and only hijacking of an El Al flight, the Yom Kippur War, and other attacks all happened during his time as the head of Mossad. Toward the end of his time as the head of Mossad, he began having the agency partner with the IDF to fight terrorism. It was under Zamir’s guidance and the Mossad’s intelligence that Israel was able to navigate toward victory in the Yom Kippur War. He secured the assistance of the American military after allegedly telling the American representative to “Kiss my ass” when America did not want to help Israel. Another high moment of Zamir’s career was the execution of Operation God's Wrath. The operation was conducted in retaliation against the terrorist organization that had murdered 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972. Operation God's Wrath eliminated all of the top leadership of the terrorist organization while they were in non-Israeli territory. A major pitfall of Zamir’s career came when Major General Eli Zeira who was a Mossad Operative under Zamir exposed the identity of a Mossad asset prior to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. Zeira had thought the asset was in fact a double agent; however, Zamir believed this to not be true. Zeira leaked the asset’s identity to students who did not have the clearance level to know the information. Zamir was upset because this asset had warned him of the impending attack just hours before the start of the Yom Kippur War. In the following decades, it was discovered that the asset had not been a double agent as Zeira had suspected and Zeira was found of being guilty of leaking the asset’s information to the public. Zeira attempted to sue Zamir for libel, but Zamir won the case.

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