Former Shin Bet chief Amos Manor died on Sunday night at the age of 89. He headed the Shin Bet between 1953 and 1963 and served, among other positions, as the first chief of its non-Arab Affairs Department.
Born in Transylvania as Arthur Mendelowitz in 1918, Manor began working for the Romanian branch of the Mossad Le' Aliyah Bet in 1947. Founded in 1939 the organization sought to smuggle Jewish refugees to British Mandate Palestine in defiance of the strict British restrictions on immigration quotas.
It was there that Manor, who served as secretary-general of the Bucharest office, first took on the name 'Amos' as his underground alias.
A month after arriving in Israel in 1949 Manor - who spoke fluent Hebrew, English, French, Romanian and Hungarian - began working for the Shin Bet as head of the eastern Europe desk in the non-Arab Affairs Department. In 1950 he became the department's first-ever head. Until then, the department reported directly to Shin Bet chief Isser Harel.
In 1952 Manor was appointed deputy chief of the service and in October 1953 he replaced Izi Dorot as Shin Bet chief as the latter followed Harel to the Mossad. In 1963 he retired from the service.
Manor is credited with building up the Shin Bet as a national institution capable of handling the many threats posed to internal Israeli security during that time.
Manor is survived by his wife and son.