Former Mossad Director Dies After Battle With Cancer
Former Mossad director Meir Dagan passed away on Thursday morning after a prolonged battle with cancer. Dagan, 71, served as Mossad director between 2002 and 2011.
Dagan received praise from all sides of the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose policies Dagan often criticized in the last few years.
“I wish to express my profound sadness about the passing of Meir Dagan. Meir was a soldier and a brave fighter who contributed massively to Israel’s security establishment and to the fight against terror,” Netanyahu said.
“A picture of his grandfather being humiliated at the hands of the Nazis moments before he was murdered in the Holocaust was always present in Meir’s mind. Meir was determined to ensure that the Jewish people would never again lack strength and protection. He dedicated his life to the public and to the strength of Israel,” Netanyahu added in a statement.
President Reuven Rivlin described Dagan as one of the greatest and most daring fighters who was incredibly creative and who believed strongly in the Jewish people. “I knew him as a man who could advise, a man with insight, a loving man and a man beloved by those around him, as a leader and as just a regular guy.”
Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog also expressed condolences, writing on his Facebook page that Meir was a hero who fought bravely against Israel’s enemies. Despite Dagan’s military achievements, Herzog specifically stressed his determination to achieve peace. “The State of Israel is indebted to him for all that he did during his service,” Herzog said.
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman hailed the former Mossad chief as a brave soldier whose character embodied the strength of the Israeli security apparatus and whose contributions “may only be revealed, if at all, many years from now,” he said.
Dagan began his military career in 1963 in the Paratroopers Brigade and fought in the Six Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973), and the first Lebanon war in 1982. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon later appointed him to serve as national security advisor before appointing him to the post of Mossad director in 2002. Netanyahu reappointed Dagan as director in 2009, a role which he performed until the end of 2010.
Dagan later claimed that Netanyahu had decided not to extend his tenure in 2010, a claim which the Prime Minister’s Office has denied.
After leaving office, Dagan became a prominent critic of Netanyahu and made a number of public statements against his policies such as describing deliberations about bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities as “a stupid idea.”