Meir Dagan (1945-2016), the tenth director of the Mossad, passed away this morning (Thursday, 17 March 2016) after battling cancer.
"Meir was one of the bravest fighters the Jewish people have known. He was imaginative and had profound faith" said President Reuven Rivlin upon learning of his passing.
Dagan served as Mossad Director between 2002-2011, under Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Benjamin Netanyahu. His term was extended several times.
Dagan was born Meir Hubermann in 1945, in the city of Kherson, Ukraine. In 1950, he immigrated to Israel with his family. His parents were Holocaust survivors. He was married to Binah and had three children.
Dagan enlisted in the IDF in 1963 and served in the Paratroop Brigade. He took part of many important operations and established the Rimon Special Unit. He received the Medal of Courage.
Dagan was deeply affected by the tragedy of the Holocaust, which was an important factor in how he viewed the goals of the Mossad as it dealt with threats and defended the State of Israel.
"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," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In 2011, he was awarded the Chaim Herzog Award for unique contributions to the State of Israel, and the Moskowitz Prize for activity to realize Zionism.
Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his deep sadness over the loss of Meir Dagan: "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."
President Rivlin said: "Meir Dagan, the giant of all giants - as he was known, symbolized for many the rebirth of the State of Israel from the ashes of the Holocaust. I knew Meir as an adviser, a wise man, a loving and beloved man in all his rawness, a leader and man of the people. I bow my head in his memory, and send my condolences to his family."