Sylvia Raphael's grave in the Ramat HaKovesh cemetery
|Died||9 February 2005 (aged 67)|
Pretoria, South Africa
|Criminal status||Released and deported from Norway in 1975|
|Criminal charge||Murder, espionage, use of forged documents|
|Penalty||5.5 years in prison|
Sylvia Raphael was born on 1 April 1937, near Cape Town, South Africa. Raphael, whose father was a Jewish atheist and mother was Christian, was raised in her mother's religion. Having witnessed an antisemitic incident in her native country as a child, however, she immigrated to Israel in 1963. She initially lived on a kibbutz, and later worked as a teacher before moving to Tel Aviv, where she was recruited by Mossad. After training she attained the rank of “combatant,” the highest rank for a Mossad agent. This ranking qualified Raphael to operate in foreign countries, and she was sent to Paris in the guise of a freelance journalist with a Canadian passport in the name of real-life Canadian photojournalist Patricia Roxborough. When the Israeli government decided to track down the Black September operatives who committed the Munich massacre in Munich, West Germany in 1972, Raphael provided valuable intelligence which led to the killing of three, before being assigned to an Operation Wrath of God team.
Raphael was part of a group of Mossad agents who mistakenly assassinated Morocco-born waiter Ahmed Bouchiki (brother of Chico Bouchikhi) in Lillehammer, Norway on 21 July 1973, which became known as the Lillehammer affair. The agents claimed to have mistaken Bouchiki for Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief organizer for Black September who had planned the Munich massacre.
Raphael was arrested shortly after the killing and convicted of planned murder (the most serious murder conviction under Norwegian law), espionage, and use of forged documents by Eidsivating Court of Appeal on 1 February 1974. Despite being sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, she was released after serving 15 months and deported from Norway as a foreign criminal in May 1975, as foreigners convicted of serious crimes are routinely deported after serving their sentences.
After her release, Raphael married her Norwegian defense attorney, Annæus Schjødt, but was deported again after entering the country in 1977. Two years later she obtained a residence permit, but left the country with her husband in 1992, settling in her native South Africa where she died in 2005, aged 67, from leukemia.
A square named after her was erected in the Israeli town of Migdal.
- Norwegian Official Report 2000: 6 (Summary)
- Joseph, Anne (April 21, 2017). "The spy who fell into a trap: How did a beautiful middle-class South African become one of Mossad's most successful spies?". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Swain, Jon (February 21, 2010). "Fresh-faced, I fell into the honey trap laid by Israel's Mata Hari". Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- The Times Online obituary
- "Jahloul "Chico" Bouchikhi". MTV Artists.
- Norwegian Official Report 2000: 6, Chapter 4
- The Times Online
Media related to Sylvia Rafael at Wikimedia Commons