Former Israeli Mossad director Meir Dagan has died at the age of 71.

Dagan was the tenth Mossad chief, appointed by Ariel Sharon, his close friend. He headed the super secret organization from 2002 until December 2010, and is arguably most identified with operations to combat Iran’s nuclear program and its existential threat to Israel by way of producing an atomic bomb.

Current Mossad chief Yossi Cohen expressed deep sorrow at the news of Dagan’s death and sent condolences to the Dagan family on behalf of Mossad’s employees and its past chiefs.

“The State of Israel, the Jewish people today have lost an important leader,” said past Israel prime minister and president Shimon Peres.

“His devotion to the state of Israel was absolute,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. “He wanted what was best for her and did everything he could to ensure Israel’s existence for future generations.”


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

“Meir was 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.”

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Erica Terry is Managing Editor at Jspace News. She has reported on domestic and international news, Israeli politics, features and more for Jewish publications in New York, Miami and London.