Former Mossad chief Yitzhak Hofi dies at 87

Former Mossad chief Yitzhak Hofi dies at 87

As head of spy agency, Hofi oversaw Entebbe hostage rescue and other succesful counter-terror operations

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Former Mossad director Yitzhak Hofi (photo credit: Youtube screenshot)
Former Mossad director Yitzhak Hofi (photo credit: Youtube screenshot)

Former Mossad director Yitzhak Hofi, under whose watch Israel launched several successful counter-terror operations which were subject to international acclaim, died on Monday at the age of 87.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1927, Hofi served in the Palmach, and later the IDF’s Givati Brigade and elite Paratrooper Brigade. During the Yom Kippur War, he was the head of the IDF’s northern command, and was hailed as one of the few top officers who warned of the threat of a surprise Arab attack on the Jewish holiday.

After being appointed Mossad chief in 1974, Hofi oversaw several high-profile operations, including the release of Israelis taken hostage in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976, the assassination of several Black September leaders, and the 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor.

“Throughout his life Yitzhak Hofi was active on behalf of the security of the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“At this difficult time I would like to offer my condolences to his family. The people of Israel are grateful for his contribution to the security of the state,” he added. Hofi was the architect of the Entebbe raid, during which Yonatan Netanyahu, brother to the prime minister, was killed in action.

After resigning from the Mossad in 1982, Hofi served as director of the Israel Electric Corporation through 1990.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called Hofi a “brave and level-headed commander” who was present at some of Israel’s most difficult hours.

“During his life, Hofi was a people person, a commander who served as a role model for the generations that came after him. Even now, many years after he was released from military service, Hofi’s fingerprints — as well as those of his fellow members of the Independence generation — continue to influence the IDF,” he said.

AP contributed to this report.

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