Yitzhak Hofi was born in Tel Aviv. He joined the Haganah in 1944 and commanded a company in the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. He continued to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces in a variety of command, staff and training posts. He headed the Northern Command of the IDF during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. He was Acting Chief of Staff for a brief period in 1974, before retiring from the military and taking the post of director of Mossad. Before that he was a general in the Israeli Defense Forces in charge of the Northern Command. In July 1976, Hofi lobbied strongly for a rescue mission to be mounted to save the large number of Israeli passengers on a hijacked Air France airliner flown to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. In order to facilitate the resulting Operation Entebbe, Hofi directed Mossad katsas to survey the airport, and used contacts in Kenyan intelligence to allow the refueling of Israeli planes in Nairobi on the return journey.