Dr. Yonah Elian, who helped capture Adolf Eichmann in Argentina, took his own life at his Tel Aviv apartment on Friday morning. He was 88 years old. Dr. Elian's girlfriend returned to their home in the Neve Avivim neighborhood on Friday and discovered his body. She called the Magen David Adom emergency response service, but the doctor pronounced him dead upon arrival.
Dr. Elian was an anesthesiologist at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. In May 1960, he participated in the Mossad operation to capture Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and sedated the wanted Nazi en route to Israel.
"Lately he wasn't feeling so well," Dr. Dan Elian, the doctor's son, said: "He even told us he was fed up with life and that it was enough for him to have reached the age of 88. My sister and I spoke with him on the phone two days ago. We talked for a long time and thought we had succeeded in cheering him up a bit."
Dr. Elian's son reminisced about his childhood, saying, "I remember how the smell of anaesthetic materials enveloped my father when he came home from work. I also remember that he was gone a lot, frequently travelling. It was only at a later age that I understood he was on trips related to security services."
"My father was closed-off emotionally," Dr. Elian said. "He was a secretive man, modest, humble and relatively shy."
Three years ago, the Knesset honored Dr. Elian at a special ceremony recognizing his contribution to the Eichman capture operation. "He didn't want to go to the ceremony," his son said. "We had to work hard to persuade him until he finally agreed." Dr. Elian's son said that his father recently gave him the needle that he had used to sedate Eichmann.
Dr. Elian's funeral is scheduled to take place on Sunday at the Moshava Kinneret, where he will be buried alongside his wife.