Meir Amit, a former minister, Knesset member and Israel's third Mossad chief died on Friday at the age of 88.
"Entire generations of Israelis owe Meir Amit a debt of gratitude for his enormous contribution, a large part of which has never been published, for the State of Israel's military buildup and deterrence," President Shimon Peres eulogized Amit.
"From the Suez Crisis and his initiative to launch the first satellite into space, to his term as Mossad chief, we honored him, loved him, and his actions will continue to be with us in the future," Peres added.
Amit was born in Tiberias in 1921. When he was 15 he joined the Haganah. In the years prior to the state's inception he commanded a platoon and a company of the organization's Field Corps, and fought in the battles of Mishmar Haemek and Jezreel Valley during the War of Independence.
After the state was founded Amit joined the IDF and participated in the battles to liberate the Lower Galilee.
In 1950 he was made commander of the Golani Brigade and later served as chief of the Training Command and head of the General Staff's Operations Branch.
In 1954, after participating in an officers training course in Britain, Amit was appointed head of the IDF's Operations Branch. After he was promoted to major-general Amit served as Northern Command chief, Southern Command chief and head of the IDF Intelligence.
In 1963-1969 Amit served as head of Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad. He was later appointed director general of Koor, the Histadrut's concern of industrial companies.
In 1977 he joined the Dash party and served as transportation minister and communications minister in Menachem Begin's government.
After one Knesset term Amit retired from politics. Since then he has held various senior positions in high-tech companies and was one of the founders of the Israeli satellite Amos project. He also served in a number of public posts.
In 2003 Amit was awarded the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, for his unique contribution to the state and society.
Ronen Medzini contributed to the report