Zvi Zamir, whose 1973 war warning was ignored in Israel, dies at 98

  • Zvi Zamir, former head of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, has died at the age of 98.
  • Zamir played a key role in the assassination campaign targeting Palestinian commanders after the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
  • Defense Minister Yoav Gallant acknowledged Zamir’s significant contribution to Israel’s security.

Zvi Zamir, a former head of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad whose warning that Egypt and Syria were about to attack Israel in 1973 was largely ignored by the government, has died at the age of 98.

Zamir’s death was announced by Mossad, which he led from 1968 to 1974. A former army general, Zamir oversaw Israel’s campaign of assassinating Palestinian commanders blamed for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“His contribution to Israel’s security will be remembered for many years to come,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on social media platform X.

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Zamir was in charge of Mossad when Syria and Egypt attacked Israel on Oct. 6 1973.

Middle East graphic

A senior informant had informed Zamir about the planned offensive, but Israeli military intelligence dismissed it as a ruse.

Zamir later recounted bitterly how a senior informant had told him that Cairo and Damascus were planning a surprise October 1973 offensive. Israeli military intelligence treated this as a ruse and as a result the government failed to mount a full mobilisation in advance, he said.

Within hours of the informant’s tip-off, Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked and overran Israeli lines although they were eventually repelled in an Israeli counteroffensive.

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The attack become a national trauma for Israelis, now grappling with the shock of the surprise Hamas attack that caught Israel off guard last October.

“He (Zamir) departed with a feeling that perhaps had he been more forceful it (the 1973 war) would not have happened. It burned him up inside,” Danny Yatom, also a former Mossad chief, told Army Radio.

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