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Telfed remembers a remarkable lady

A small group of South African expatriates, including Telfed Chairman Maish Isaacson, gathered for the second annual service paying homage to the memory of  Sylvia Raphael at her graveside on Kibbutz Ramat HaKovesh on 11 May 2017. Sylvia Raphael, who has been described as one of the most effective Mossad Agents ever, had an eventful career which included tracking the perpetrators of the horrendous massacre of Israel’s Olympic team in Munich in September 1972. She was arrested in Norway, charged, convicted and imprisoned for five and a half years for her part in the assassination of Ahmed Bouchiki who was mistaken for Black September terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh, mastermind of the massacre.

Making the story of Sylvia more remarkable is the fact that this Graaff Reinet born non-Jewish girl, although the daughter of a Jewish father, connected with Israel and her Jewish heritage. She migrated to Israel with the intention of doing her utmost to be of service to what became her beloved country, succeeding in those intentions way beyond any preconceived  expectations. After her release from prison, after serving 15 months of her sentence, Sylvia married her Norwegian defence lawyer and returned to South Africa where she lived until her passing. 

Her remains were brought to Israel and buried on Ramat HaKovesh, according to her wishes. She had lived on the kibbutz and left many beloved friends behind on Ramat HaKovesh when she passed away

David Kaplan spoke about Sylvia, her life and her deeds while, Hadas Zamir, a kibbutz member and resident  who had befriended Sylvia, spoke about their friendship and the wonderful person that she knew and missed. Moshe Cohen sang the Memorial Prayer and then led the gathering in a communal Kaddish for all fallen Mossad agents.

The intention is to hold a similar service annually to appropriately honour the memory of this wonderful ex South African to whom all Israelis owe an immense debt of gratitude.

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