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Gen. Aharon Yariv Dead at 74; Headed Israeli Military Intelligence

May 10, 1994
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Retired Brig. Gen. Aharon Yariv, widely regarded as the most prominent of Israel’s military intelligence chiefs, was buried here Monday with full military honors. Yariv, who was 74, died late Saturday of an undisclosed cause.

Yariv had suffered a stroke last September while driving and had crashed his car into a tree.

At the time, he was head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, which he founded. As head of that think tank he recommended several changes in the Arab-Israeli peace process, including direct talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In the 1970s, together with Victor Shemtov, a leader of the Mapam party, Yariv, a Labor Party member of Knesset, devised the so-called “Yariv-Shemtov Formula,” which called for direct talks with the PLO if it would agree to cease terrorism and give up its plans to destroy Israel.

That formula was never rejected by the governments in which he served, but neither was it adopted, and he resigned from polities in 1975. He established the Jaffee Center in 1977, where he remained until recently.

Yariv was born in Moscow in 1920. His family moved to Palestine in 1935. In 1938 he joined the Haganah, the precursor of the Israel Defense Force. In 1941, he joined the British Army as a captain in the Jewish Brigade.

Prior to the establishment of Israel, he was active in organizing illegal immigration and in purchasing arms for the Haganah.

‘THANK YOU, ARELE, FROM THE SOLDIERS’

Among his many posts was that of military attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and, from 1964 to 1972, head of military intelligence.

Following that, he was an adviser on terrorism for then-Prime Minister Golda Meir. It was during that time, in September 1972, that Israel’s entire Olympic team in Munich was slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists.

In a November 1993 Israel Radio interview, Yariv disclosed that Meir had approved the assassinations of between 10 and 15 terrorists in reprisal for the murders of the 11 Israelis.

Yariv was also among the negotiating team for the Israeli-Egyptian disengagement agreement in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

After retiring from the IDF he entered politics as a Labor member of Knesset and was minister of transport and of information.

Eulogizing Yariv at the graveside, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that Yariv’s career in the IDF had been marked by “thoroughness and professionalism.”

As IDF chief of staff, Rabin appointed Yariv to head the military intelligence.

“His was the first appointment I made as chief of staff. The intelligence he provided just before the Six-Day War was the fullest; it was the foundation of that victory,” Rabin said.

“Thank you, Arele, from the soldiers, the mothers, the people of Israel.

“It is of officers like you that it may be said, ‘Never have so many owed so much to so few,'” Rabin said.

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