boom, boom, out go the lightsSylvia Rafael, 67, a legendary Mossad assassin, passed away in her native South Africa, and will be buried in Israel. Rafael was best known as a member of the Mossad hit squad that scoured Europe for the Black September members involved in the Munich Massacre, and then killed them.

Rafael was convicted of killing Ahmed Bushiki, a Moroccan waiter in Norway who the hit team mistakenly thought was Hassan Salame, one of the leading terrorists (Salame aka “The Red Prince” later bought it in Beirut via car bomb). Rafael was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, was released after 11 months and ended up marrying her Norwegian lawyer. She was involved in numerous other succesful operations and I’d tell you about them, but then I’d have to kill you.

“One day, when true peace comes, they will write books about her, make movies of her life and name streets after her,” Eitan Haber, a veteran defense correspondent of that era wrote in Yediot Ahronot.

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Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

37 Comments

  • Well, Sylvia Rafael is not really La Femme Nikita. But that was the closest pic I had of a female assassin. And all three variants of La Femme Nikita (Original French movie, American remake, TV series) are hot.

  • wow god bless all the zionist pioneers, why do you only hear of great people like that after their dead?…neway i think i have a new role-model

  • I love israel for its,Wrath of G-d mission to kill all the scum who were involved in the Mumich massacure!! May she rest in peace until the Moshiach comes and we are all united again in a world full of peace and no one it drinkin the jew hateraid..

    (ex loyal jewschool member…now just lookin for my new blog home)

  • I’ve seen:

    La Femme Nikita (tv)
    La Femme Nikita (french film)
    Point of No Return (god-awful american remake of really disturbing french film)

    TV and Peta Wilson still win. Ooh, and Michael. Love. Him.

  • Roy Dupuis was Micheal. If you loved him, you should check out Les Invasions Barbares. And he’s still a hottie!

  • Praise be to Sylvia Rafael and to the Mossad. Hard to find much to criticize in someone who helped to deliver some tough justice to those bastards who killed our athletes in the Black September attacks. I think I’d heard something about her before– IIRC she wasn’t one of the trigger-pullers in 1972 per se, but she helped to make sure the murderers were cornered. Next to Entebbe, one of the best single counterterrorist assaults of Israeli resources.

    I didn’t know about her imprisonment in Norway. Ouch– that detracts from her luster a bit, if she wound up killing a totally innocent man. I mean, it wasn’t intentional and in this line of work that’s the sort of unfortunate thing that can happen, but I realize that’s probably little solace to Ahmed Bushiki’s family (and just as bad, Salame got away). Embarrassing too– whacking the wrong target is pretty much a cardinal sin in these sorts of commando operations IIRC. But praise her for all the other good work against true terrorists that she did throughout her career.

  • SYLVIA RAPHAEL was NOT an assassain! Read the book “The Hit Team” by David Tinnins. Her team of 6 located the Arab suspects for a second team (I think Team Aleph = A) to devise a way & time for the Hit.

    Coincidence: I was in Israel during 1973 when her brother, my uncle, lived too on a kibbutz. I too worked in the “mudgiria”, the chicken-hatchery, as Aunt Sylvia did on the 60s.

    But I met my extended family only in 1996 & 1997. A decent, considerate group I am pleased & honoured now to know.

    Denzil

  • I sure hope Sylvia Rafael died as peacefully and painless as Ahmed Bouchiki.
    It seems the good die young.
    May she never rest in peace 🙂

  • I think everyone apologized for that. The Israeli government paid compensation to the family of the waiter. Sylvia Rafael also spent the rest of her life hiding from terrorists. If Black September did not go and kill the atheletes in Munich, Bouchki would still be alive. You should think about that.

  • Ahmed Bouchikis son, Jamal Terje Rutgersen, has never received a true explanation around the murder on his father. The Norwegian authoritys have closed the case, and protected the assassins. One of the assassins, Dan Ærbel, even disclosed Israels atomic weapon program during the trial, and that was fastly put a lid on. All in all the norwegian authoritys have shown deep corruption in this entire trial for “justice”. Mossad had used their buddys of old norwegian war “heroes”, to point out the wrong person, and afterwards they had no regret what so ever. Theese are guys (and gals) who terminates another persons life with less care than you kill a fly.
    Theese are NOT heroes….

  • Of course they are heroes, Salameh. Even heroes make a mistake, even if a painful and tragic one. And these are “guys and gals” who terminate another person’s life after putting great care and effort into the matter. They did not kill this man for fun or because he was like a fly. They killed him because he bore a remarkeable resemblance to a murderer whom they were chasing.

    Yes, they’ve made a mistake once (or more, I’m sure) and that is terrible for him and his family. However, a mistake does not take away from the decades of service in protecting Israel that the Mossad has successfully provided. It also does not take away from the matter that brought this accidental killing about – the murder of innocent Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists who terminate another person’s life with less care than you kill a fly (unless the person is Jewish in which case they also take pleasure in the murder).

  • …… theese fundamentalist jews have the same respect for their enemies as the nazis had for the jews in ww2.
    If you like to see them as heroes, ok with me.

    He who lives by the sword….

    …That goes for the palestinian terrorists too, they all live to kill the ones told to disagree with themselves.

    Sylvia Rafaels problem was that she had no conscience for other then her strictly own people, and we all know what this kind of outlook on life leads to.

    Violence breeds violence, and living your life to kill others is a waste.

  • …… theese fundamentalist jews

    Which fundamentalist Jews? Neither the heroine Raphael nor I are fundamentalist Jews.

    have the same respect for their enemies as the nazis had for the jews in ww2.

    Hmmm, let’s see…Mossad makes mistaken hit on person who looks just like a terrorist who murdered innocent Israeli athletes; Nazis murder 1.5 million Jews in the first 18 months of the war mostly by lining them up in front of ditches and firing machine guns at them.

    I can only conclude that you’ve been educated in a very poor educational system.

    If you like to see them as heroes, ok with me.

    Great! I do see them as heroes and am glad you agree!

    He who lives by the sword….

    I’m surprised but not unhappy to see that you support the targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists.

    …That goes for the palestinian terrorists too, they all live to kill the ones told to disagree with themselves.

    Hey! You really do agree with targeted killings. Great! Of course, this doesn’t apply to the Israelis since they’re not targeting “the ones told to disagree with themselves,” they’re targeting murderers and militants who kill, have killed, are making plans to kill, or are seeking to injure civilians.

    Sylvia Rafaels problem was that she had no conscience for other then her strictly own people, and we all know what this kind of outlook on life leads to.

    And you say this on what basis? How do you know what missions she was on? How do you know that she wasn’t in on missions where the Mossad collaborated with the CIA or one of the European secret services? You do remember, of course, that back in the 70s the world had quite a few terrorist bands like Baader Meinhof, the Red Brigades and many others. There was cooperation among security services to thwart these groups and you have no idea whether Ms. Raphael was involved or not.

    Now as for only having a conscience for your own people, I’m not exactly sure what that leads to, but you seem to think that this is a priori a bad thing. I doubt that very much.

    Violence breeds violence, and living your life to kill others is a waste.

    I mostly agree with these sentiments, except that sometimes, living to kill others who rise up to kill you and people from your nation as well as others, is a very good deed. You prevent the killing and harming of others. For example, if someone had killed the planners of yesterday’s bombing in Tel Aviv before they got their plan off the ground, you’d have a few dead sub-humans, and all the dead and injured innocent civilians would now be safe, healthy and with their families and loved ones. Every person like Sylvia Raphael who is dedicating their life to preventing these attacks – and Israel, for example, stops almost 100% of attempted suicide attacks – is a hero.

  • I think that we might come to understand each other, if we can keep a discussion going without physically attacking each other.
    Since I live in Norway, I have experienced the negative sides in the aftermath of the execution of Ahmed Bouchiki. I allso have a problem with people who play God, or claim to be performing Gods work on earth. Saudi Arabia is a good example of a country full of people (and terrorists) who think that they are Gods own sons. They in turn figt the Israelis who claim that their god is the righy one. The US assure that both parts kill each other, to make themselves leader of the pack, lead by a president who claims that HIS gog is the right one.
    I sit back, having a cool beer, while all theese people kill each other for nothing, happy that it’s not my war. It’s all safely on TV only, …you have to live with it every day 🙁

  • Amazing how you guys can lionize a murderess – what a great herione taking part in the murder of an innocent – I don’t feel any real sympathy here for the murdered waiter shot 13 times in front of his pregnat wife …

    What a great bunch of humanitarians you all are!!!

  • Sylvia was an amazing woman and friend. She risked her life protecting those she believed in. Indeed there are more passive ways to solving problems, but unfortunately these ways are time consuming and do not lead to substantial results. Sylvia spent her later years working for charities in South Africa. She was loved by many people of different races and nationalities. This does not come from lacking a conscience and respecting ‘her people’ only. Strictly speaking she was a South African, which means she was not fighting for her people but was fighting for justice. Sylvia only learned about her Jewish blood after she was 20. She did not have kids, instead she helped support her niece and nephew.

    Some of you are clearly revenge seeking, “Sylvia should suffer for her mistakes”. Then surely we should all suffer for our lifes mistakes? Or you could simply look into the real world and know that all people are capible of horrible things. Just because a small town in Norway experienced murder for the first time in years- its front page news. Try living in South Africa were mothers, kids, and all are being raped, murdered and tortured on a daily basis. This is reality. Now tell me its possible to have a peace rally to stop sociopaths from killing…

  • Maybe it should not amaze me how American Jews tend to lionize Israeli secret agents and military. American Jews have a vicarious emotion that only betrays their own sense of guilt and powerlessness. I recall American Jewish tourists in the Old City stopping me while on reserve duty to have a snapshot of the “tough” Israeli soldier protecting the homeland. Shortly following the “photo shoot” I walked outside the Old City Walls to espy an elderly Palestinian man leering at me. I realized I was part of the machinery kept him and his people in a state of humiliation, a second class inhabitant in his native land. In the months following that day, I decided to go West and become my own person.

  • Shai, sorry to disappoint you but nobody here holds Israeli soldiers in thrall. We can be and sometimes are very critical of them. We also would not and do not accept any treatment of the Palestinians that isn’t just and fair.

    But you seem to be a little confused. The “machinery” that keeps that elderly Palestinian in a state of humiliation is his own leadership which profits from the status quo and which has rejected generous peace offers from Israel.

    Your job as a soldier was not to humiliate him but to secure Israelis’ safety. It seems you didn’t understand.

    As for heroic Israeli men and women in the Mossad and the IDF, surely there are some very brave ones and their bravery should be celebrated. You may be confused about why the conflict is where it is, but for many people such confusion isn’t an option because they recognize that without their commitment and sacrifice, Israel would not survive. Today that seems like a strange point to make precisely because those brave men and women risked everything to strengthen Israel against threats it faced as a much younger and less stable country.

  • There is only confusion in the the content of your response to my letter. Give it another shot.

  • Well, let’s examine:

    Shai, sorry to disappoint you but nobody here holds Israeli soldiers in thrall. We can be and sometimes are very critical of them. We also would not and do not accept any treatment of the Palestinians that isn’t just and fair.

    That is incredibly accurate.

    But you seem to be a little confused. The “machinery” that keeps that elderly Palestinian in a state of humiliation is his own leadership which profits from the status quo and which has rejected generous peace offers from Israel.

    That is amazingly correct.

    Your job as a soldier was not to humiliate him but to secure Israelis’ safety. It seems you didn’t understand.

    That is astoundingly true.

    As for heroic Israeli men and women in the Mossad and the IDF, surely there are some very brave ones and their bravery should be celebrated.

    Yup, that’s right!

    You may be confused about why the conflict is where it is, but for many people such confusion isn’t an option because they recognize that without their commitment and sacrifice, Israel would not survive. Today that seems like a strange point to make precisely because those brave men and women risked everything to strengthen Israel against threats it faced as a much younger and less stable country.

    Holy canoli, another very true statement.

    Nope, no confusion here.

  • Did nobody else realize that she must have been at least partially the inspiration for the character Ziva David on NCIS?

  • First off, the Mossad is clearly among the elite if not the elite covert ops agency in the world and it’s members are extremely good at what they do. And yes, they are a vital part of Israel’s defense. And surely, they are brave and dangerous. But at no point should one confuse them with heros.

    Bouchiki should be a clear example of that. I see people chalking this up to a “mistake” but the big mistake was performing a hit on a neutral country’s door in the first place. It was negligence. They didn’t verify their target and moreover, an agent reported that she was pretty sure they had the wrong guy. The boss didn’t abort the mission, nor alter it to include verification. They were willing to take their chances… with the lives of Norwegian citizens.

    A person that travels to a 3rd party country and risks the lives of complete neutrals in order to attack a traveler in that country? Hero? The most analogous incident in recent history was when Russian operatives poisoned a Russian ex-pat in England with a radioactive isotope, risking the lives of potentially everyone he came in contact with. Much like in revenge for Munich, that was an act where they were making an example. Was that KGB operative a hero? I sure would not like to think so. That’s not heroism, that’s hubris. And when you screw it up, which happens with some frequency- you’ve been negligent.

    When your job is to kill one person, and you kill the wrong person- you’ve destroyed someone’s life and their family’s life. Bouchiki died because a group of agents working on a mission for a few years had little enough regard for all the years of his life that they didn’t even clearly validate identity. After all, if they missed that chance- it might be… years before they had another shot right? When you start weighing your years and months of hard work as more important than someone else’s life, you’re not a hero. You’re no better than the bank robber who shoots someone to make his getaway.

    They had vans ready and waiting. If they just wanted to kill their target, they could have easily thrown him into a van, validated identity, and dumped the van. They wanted to make a public display, even though it had greater risk of collateral damage. That has, in fact, been a hallmark of the Mossad at times. If you are making a plan for something, and you can choose between an easy plan that risks innocent lives versus a more difficult one that doesn’t- and you pick the former… you’re no hero. And if you accidentally kill the wrong person and never even apologize, you definitely aren’t a hero. The Mossad wanted to show terrorists that they couldn’t be safe anywhere. Instead they showed that no one was safe, even from supposed allies.

    A hero doesn’t risk the lives of innocent people because it was “inconvenient” or “mundane” to do otherwise. I think seeing the best intelligence agency still botch Lillehammer is an excellent reminder that covert ops on foreign soil is a dirty, nasty business. It’s a business where your time and wants are weighed above not only your enemies lives, but your friends too. And while those involved may be tremendous soldiers and warriors, they’re no heroes.

  • If people want to know about a real Jewish hero, here’s a great example: Liviu Librescu. In the VA Tech school shooting, he blocked the classroom door with his body to prevent the shooter from entering while students escaped and was shot to death through the door. I have no doubt that he pressed against that door knowing it would probably be the last thing he ever did. If people want to name streets, name them after him. That’s a hero.

  • This is for everyone who is justifying the death of the Moroccan waiter as an unfortunate accident. Bumping into somebody while walking is an accident, spilling milk on the floor is an accident. But when you kill an innocent man in front of his wife then you are no different than the people you claim to fight against.

    If the Israeli government would have simply arrested the people suspected of Black September and put them on trial, then the waiter would have been freed, and his wife would not be a widow, and their child would have grown up with a father.

    These people are not heroes. They are renegades who believe that that are above international law and human decency. I’m not defending terrorism, but it’s not false to claim that Palestinians have suffered a great deal as a result of the creation of the State of Israel. To pretend that Israelis are a peace-loving people who are victims of terrorism in nonsense.

  • How much compensation did the Israelis pay, and how quickly, for killing an innocent guy on his way back from the cinema with his pregnant wife?

    $286000. 13 years later.

    That’s not much for an innocent person watching their innocent husband being shot 13 times. He’d have been lying on the ground for most of those bullets. There’s no evidence he looked like the other guy and it wouldn’t be relevant if he did.

    Heroes? How did you get to hear about these heroes? I suggest they were chosen for you, to get you fired up, feeling more strident and patriotic. Manipulation, yes. Not healthy.

  • She’s a hero to me. You don’t like it, well you can kiss my a**. How’s that for understanding?

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