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Israel's Prime Minister Olmert addresses the media during a news conference in Jerusalem
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) talks with Pensioners Minister Rafi Eitan during a news conference on financial assistance for Holocaust survivors, in Jerusalem October 15, 2007. Israel's attorney-general ordered police on Sunday to launch a new criminal investigation into Olmert's conduct in government before he became prime minister. (UPI Photo/Ronen Zvulun/POOL)
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Rafael "Rafi" Eitan (Hebrew: רפי איתן‎, born 23 November 1926) is an Israeli politician and former intelligence officer. Today he leads Gil and is a former Minister of Pensioner Affairs. In the past, he was in charge of the Mossad operation that lead to the capture of Adolf Eichmann. He served as an advisor on terrorism to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and in 1981 he was appointed to head the Bureau of Scientific Relations, then an intelligence entity on par with Mossad, Aman and Shabak. Eitan assumed responsibility for and resigned over the Jonathan Pollard affair, and the Bureau was disbanded. From 1985 until 1993, he was head of the government's Chemicals company, which was expanded under his leadership. After 1993, he became a businessman, noted for several large scale agricultural and construction ventures in Cuba.

Eitan was born in kibbutz Ein Harod during the Mandate era. His parents were Zionist immigrants from Russia in 1923. His father Noach Hantman was a farmer and poet and his mother Yehudit Volwelsky, a social activist. They had four children, Rafi, Oded, Rina and Ami(Yechiam) and lived happily in Ramat HaSharon, a small settlement consisting of 100 families. Eitan went to a regular junior high public school, but finished his high school at the Agricultural School in Givat HaShlosha in 1940 before going to the London School of Economics for his BSc in Economics.

At age 12, engulfed in the prevalent Zionist sentiments of the day and to defend his settlement from Arab insurgencies, Eitan joined the Haganah from which he moved to the Palmach, a more elite part of the Haganah, upon completion of high school in 1944. Through clandestine operations, he was to assist the illegal immigration of Jewish refugees from Europe, who were fleeing Nazism, into Palestine. His most famous operation at this time was blowing up the British radar on Mount Carmel near the port city of Haifa. To reach it, Eitan had to crawl underground through sewers, thus earning the name 'Rafi the Smelly', which would differentiate him in later years from the other Rafael Eitan, a well-known Israeli Chief of Staff and politician. It was also during this time that he met Yitzhak Rabin, who would later become Israeli Prime Minister.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rafi Eitan."
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