When Rafael “Rafi” Eitan died, I put up this notification:
I laughed out loud to then hear that he was the “handler” of Jay Pollard. Certainly I didn’t know that previously, not even in another life.
Some years ago, when walking into the main doors of the departures terminal at Tel Aviv International Airport, that is, נתב״ג, you know NATBAG or TLV, not even one of the dozen soldiers outside under the overhang stopped me, and so I just nonchalantly continued on my way inside until, another twenty meters inside, I was asked where I was going and I responded “Rome” and that soldier also let me go as that was consistent with one of the flights leaving at that time. So I continued, but only slowly, as I instantly felt a collective “disturbance in the force” outside, kind of like all the soldiers with one electrifying whisper saying, “Oh S#|+”. It took about three more seconds until I was surrounded by the same dozen soldiers from outside plus another dozen who came out of nowhere from inside.
Their questions: “Who is the special person you met? Who’s your contact? Give us a name. We want a name! Who is it?” Not knowing what they were talking about, they snatched a bit of computer junk I had bought, an Israeli-Hebrew keyboard, and brought it to a backroom for the longest time. They told me to sit off to the side where there was an agent to accompany me. After say, 40 minutes of them having an intense powwow, looking over at me every few seconds, and with me not wanting to be late for my plane, and with me also wanting to see if a Jedi-mind-trick would work, I simply waltzed over to the flight counter and checked in and went on my way, much to their consternation. They were visibly upset, breaking their pow-wow and turning toward me, but apparently they were under orders not to detain me further. They didn’t tell me I was free to go. As far as I knew, I wasn’t supposed to move. You simply just don’t disobey IDF soldiers with UZIs (or whatever it was ten years ago) in Tel Aviv International Airport. But I did. You find out stuff by pushing the envelope a bit. ;-)
It wouldn’t be for another six years that Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American CIA agent who gave ways and means secrets to Israel would be “released”, to this day not allowed to go to Israel. So, they weren’t expecting to hear “Jay.” Maybe they wanted to hear “Rafi,” a well known household name throughout the Jewish world.
I recall that relatively very recently another CIA guy asked if once then a dozen times about “Jay”, not giving any further name for a while, just “Jay”, testing to see if – now years after the restricted release of “Jay” – I could guess that he was talking about J.J. Pollard. I pushed him hard on it, and he addmitted it was Pollard he wanted to know about. But in asking that, he was really asking about “Rafi.”