Zvi Zamir

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Zvi Zamir
צבי זמיר
Zamir in 1979
Zvicka Zarzevsky

(1925-03-03)3 March 1925
Died2 January 2024(2024-01-02) (aged 98)
Tel Aviv, Israel
OccupationDirector of Mossad
Espionage activity
Allegiance State of Israel
Service branch
Service years
  • Palmach: 1942–1948
  • IDF: 1948–1968
  • Mossad: 1968–1974
RankMajor general

Zvi Zamir (Hebrew: צבי זמיר; born Zvicka Zarzevsky; 3 March 1925 – 2 January 2024) was a major general in the Israel Defense Forces and the director of the Mossad from 1968 to 1974.

Early life[edit]

Born in Poland on 3 March 1925,[1][2] Zamir immigrated with his family to the then British Mandate of Palestine when only seven months old. At the age of 18, Zamir began his military career, first as a soldier in the Haganah's Palmach, a unit that included future Israeli leaders such as Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin.

Intelligence career[edit]

Zamir in 1960

IDF posts[edit]

During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Zamir fought in the newly created Israel Defense Forces as an infantry platoon leader. After the war he continued climbing the chain of command, becoming a licensed reconnaissance pilot for the Artillery branch, and was eventually promoted to the commander of the Southern Command. His final IDF post before being appointed Mossad director came in 1966, when he was appointed the military attaché to London.


During his tenure at the Mossad, he helped carry out an assassination campaign, the Israeli response to the Munich Massacre, and dealt with the lead up and aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. After the West German government refused to accept an Israeli special forces team during the Munich hostage crisis, Zamir was sent to observe activities. He was at the Fürstenfeldbruck airbase the night that the failed rescue attempt left all nine remaining Israeli hostages dead. Zamir was interviewed about the incident in 1999 when he spoke with the producer of One Day in September, a documentary on the massacre. In it he strongly criticized the German rescue effort for its complete lack of coordination. He had previously been interviewed on this subject for an NBC profile during their coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and he discussed the massacre several times thereafter.

Later life[edit]

Zamir in 2004

Zamir was played by Ami Weinberg in Steven Spielberg's 2005 movie Munich.

His memoirs were published in Hebrew in 2011 under the title With Open Eyes (Be'einaim Pekuhot, בעיניים פקוחות‎).[3]

Zamir lived in Zahala, a neighborhood in the north of Tel Aviv. He died on 2 January 2024, at the age of 98.[4]


  1. ^ Profile of Zvi Zamir
  2. ^ "צבי זמיר". Archived from the original on 14 November 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  3. ^ Bar-Joseph, Uri; McDermott, Rose (3 March 2017). Intelligence Success and Failure: The Human Factor. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-934175-7.
  4. ^ Zvi Zamir, Mossad director during Yom Kippur War, dies at 98

Further reading[edit]

  • "Preventive measures" Zamir interview in 2006.
  • One Day in September, (1999), a documentary by Kevin Macdonald.
  • Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi. Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990. ISBN 0-395-47102-8 p. 179

External links[edit]