Giora Tzahor

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Giora Tzahor
Born (1942-10-27)October 27, 1942
Died July 16, 2012(2012-07-16) (aged 69)

Giora Weiss-Tzahor (27 October 1941 – 16 July 2012) was an Israeli military and Mossad officer, most notable for having headed Israel's efforts to abduct Mordechai Vanunu.


Tzahor was born George Weiss in Saint-Étienne, France to a Jewish family during World War II. During the German occupation of France, he was hidden and raised in a monastery. At age 17, he visited Israel, and made aliyah on his own a year later. He joined the Armored Corps of the Israel Defense Forces. He became a tank commander, and completed an officers' course. He reached the rank of Lieutenant, and became the deputy commander of Battalion 46.

During the Six Day War, his tank unit came across Jordanian tanks in Nablus. Although outnumbered, his unit destroyed seven Jordanian tanks.[1] Tzahor was severely injured in the battle, suffering burns across his body. Doctors did not expect him to survive his injuries. However, he recovered, and six years later, he was awarded the Medal of Valor.[2][3]

In 1968, Tzahor was recruited into Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence services, and was one of the founders of Mossad's Kidon ("spear") unit, which conducts assassinations overseas. He took part in dozens of Mossad operations. In the late 1970s, was appointed deputy director of the Kidon unit, and became its commander in 1984.

In 1986, Tzahor was in charge of Mossad's operation to abduct Mordechai Vanunu from London. Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, had left Israel and leaked secrets about Israel's nuclear program to the British media. Vanunu was successfully abducted after being lured to Rome and was smuggled to Israel by sea. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Tzahor retired from Mossad in 1992, and in 1993 was awarded a medal for his service by Mossad Director-General Shabtai Shavit.[4]


On 16 July 2012, Tzahor was killed in a traffic accident while riding his mountain bike in central Israel. He had been crossing a road between two agricultural fields when he was hit by a truck. He was rushed to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where efforts to save him failed.[2][3][2]

Tzahor was buried in Hadera Cemetery the following day.