Rafi Eitan had a long and storied history as a master spy in the service of Israel’s vaunted Mossad intelligence agency. He is perhaps best known as the man who nabbed the "architect of the Nazi Holocaust," Adolf Eichmann, during a daring covert operation in Argentina in 1960.
Of course, as Mossad Director Yossi Cohen noted, the majority of Eitan's exploits remain classified.
Eitan died on Saturday at the age of 92 in Tel Aviv.
Director Cohen eulogized him by stating that "the foundations that Rafi laid in the first years of the state are a significant layer in the activities of the Mossad even today."
Israel Today interviewed Rafi Eitan at his office in Tel Aviv back in 2012 to gain his insight into various issues facing the Jewish state, including burgeoning support from Evangelical Christian Zionists.
We are now reprinting the relevant parts of that interview to commemorate the passing of this Israeli hero.
Israel Today: Is there a way to end the Gaza rocket threat to Israel once and for all?
Eitan: We should do in Gaza what we did to Hezbollah in Lebanon: We destroyed Hezbollah’s infrastructure and they stopped shooting. And they haven’t dared to start again. And we don’t need a ground operation to accomplish this in Gaza; we can do it from the air.
IT: Won’t the world condemn Israel for taking such harsh action?
Eitan: So they condemn. We should first tell the UN and the US that if Hamas does not stop the rocket fire, we will destroy the entire infrastructure of Gaza. We should provide a warning, and then we should do it.
IT: Should Iran’s nuclear program be attacked, and if so, should Israel do it?
Eitan: No, we should not attack Iran alone. If the US attacks, we should join. But if not, we should stick to the American program.
IT: If the US fails to act, can Israel tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran?
Eitan: Our goal should be regime change in Iran. And this is possible. Most of the people in Iran don’t like the regime, and that’s a fact.
IT: Israel and Iran were once friends. Could they ever be again?
Eitan: I am sure of it. Remember that 50percent of the people in Iran are not Persians. They are Azeris, Kurds and other peoples who are friendly toward Israel.
IT: You are best known for your role in the capture of former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann. Do you believe there will be another Holocaust?
Eitan: In this crazy world? Yes! Look at what is happening with the Muslims around us. Fanatic Islamists are now ruling all these countries.
IT: What about in Europe?
Eitan: Some say that in one or two generations, the Muslims will take over Europe. So, yes, it’s possible.
IT: You worked with US Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard, who was jailed for spying for Israel in 1987. Why is the US so determined not to release him?
Eitan: He is being made an example. The Americans are trying to say to the Israelis, ‘You have done this and that. Remember it forever. And if you do it again, this will be the result.’
IT: Isn’t this position hypocritical? Has the US never spied on Israel?
Eitan: The answer is probably yes, but the Americans do it in technological ways, not by sending spies.
IT: Was Pollard’s crime really so great?
Eitan: We didn’t even spy on America. We only took information regarding our enemies. Pollard gave us information about Arab countries and terror groups. He did not hurt American security interests at all.
IT: Do you believe Pollard will ever be freed?
Eitan: I am not a prophet, but I sincerely hope so.
IT: Many Israelis are suspicious of Christian support for Israel. Do you welcome it?
Eitan: Yes, without question. I have personally worked with many Christian leaders in Africa and other places. Judaism is the mother of Christianity, and that is a simple fact of life.