Sylvia Rafael grave in Ramat HaKovesh cemetery
1 April 1937|
Cape Town, South Africa
|Died||9 February 2005
Pretoria, South Africa
|Criminal charge||murder, espionage, use of forged documents|
|Criminal penalty||5.5 years in prison|
|Criminal status||Released and deported from Norway in 1975|
Sylvia Rafael was born on 1 April 1937, near Cape Town, South Africa. Rafael, whose father was Jewish, immigrated to Israel in 1963 where she lived on a kibbutz, later working as a teacher moving to Tel Aviv. While in Tel Aviv, Rafael was recruited by Mossad and after training she attained the rank of “combattant”, the highest rank for a Mossad agent. This ranking qualified Rafael 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 Roxburgh. When the Israeli government decided to track down the Black September operatives that committed the Munich massacre in Munich, West Germany in 1972, Rafael provided valuable intelligence which led to the killing of three, before being assigned to an Operation Wrath of God team.
Rafael was part of a group of Mossad agents who assassinated Morocco-born waiter Ahmed Bouchiki (brother of Chico Bouchikhi) in Lillehammer, Norway on 21 July 1973, triggering 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.
Rafael 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, Rafael 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 leukaemia.
- Norwegian Official Report 2000: 6 (Summary)
- 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