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Efraim Halevy

(1934 - )

efraim halevi

Efraim Halevy was the ninth Director of the Mossad, and served from 1998-2002. He was born in England in 1934, and immigrated to Israel with his family in 1948. He is married with two children. He studied law, and before enlisting in the Mossad, was the editor of the journal, Monthly Survey, published by the Chief Education Officer.

In 1955–1957, he served as the general secretary of the National Union of Israeli Students, and visited countries behind the Iron Curtain as part of the efforts to establish and maintain ties with Jewish students in East European countries.

Halevy joined the Mossad in 1961 and advanced through its ranks, serving in senior command functions in the Tel Aviv headquarters and abroad. In the first decade of his service, he served in HQ functions, and was active in operations abroad in distant and difficult countries. From 1980–1985, he led the division responsible for bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel as part of Operation Moses. He was also involved in establishing ties with intelligence services of countries with which Israel did not have diplomatic relations, including Arab countries.

From 1990–1995, he served as second-in-command to Mossad Director Shabtai Shavit. During this time, he served as an emissary and negotiator on behalf of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in secret negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan, which eventually led to the signing of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan in October 1994.

In 1995, Halevy retired from the Mossad. In 1996, he was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the European Union institutions in Brussels. In 1998, while serving in this function, he was asked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to help resolve the crisis with Jordan provoked by the Khaled Mashal affair.

Following the resignation of his predecessor, Major General (reserves) Danny Yatom, Netanyahu called upon Halevi to return to serve as Mossad chief. He served in that position during the terms of Prime Ministers Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Ariel Sharon, from 1998 until he retired in 2002.

After retiring, Prime Minister Sharon appointed Halevy head of the National Security Council, a position he held until resigning in mid-2003. Halevi later became head of the Shasha Center for Strategic Studies at Hebrew University.

In 2006, Halevy published the book, Man in the Shadows, which, in a way, is his autobiography. The book was translated into nine languages. The Arabic edition was issued jointly by publishers in Beirut and in Cairo, and its outer cover was stamped “Know thy enemy.”

Halevy was bestowed a special medal by the director of the CIA for his contribution to promoting Israel–U.S. relations; Istiqlal (first class) medal of the Kingdom of Jordan for his contribution to Israel–Jordan relations; and the Chaim Herzog Award for his contribution to Israel’s security and foreign relations.

Sources: The Mossad;