Sylvia Rafael – biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

IntroIsraeli spy
Was Spy 
From South Africa 
Birth 1 April 1937, Cape Town, South Africa
Death 10 February 2005, Pretoria, South Africa
(aged 67 years)
Star sign Aries

Sylvia Raphael Schjødt (born 1 April 1937 – 9 February 2005) was a South African-born Israeli Mossad agent, convicted of murder in Norway for her involvement in the Lillehammer affair.


Sylvia Raphael was born on 1 April 1937, near Cape Town, South Africa. Raphael, whose father was a Jewish atheist and mother was Christian, was raised in her mother’s religion. Having witnessed an antisemitic incident in her native country as a child, however, she immigrated to Israel in 1963. She initially lived on a kibbutz, and later worked as a teacher before moving to Tel Aviv, where she was recruited by Mossad. After training she attained the rank of “combatant,” the highest rank for a Mossad agent. This ranking qualified Raphael to operate in foreign countries, and she was sent to Paris in the guise of a freelance journalist with a Canadian passport in the name of real-life Canadian photojournalist Patricia Roxborough. When the Israeli government decided to track down the Black September operatives who committed the Munich massacre in Munich, West Germany in 1972, Raphael provided valuable intelligence which led to the killing of three, before being assigned to an Operation Wrath of God team.

Lillehammer affair

Raphael was part of a group of Mossad agents who mistakenly assassinated Morocco-born waiter Ahmed Bouchiki (brother of Chico Bouchikhi) in Lillehammer, Norway on 21 July 1973, which became known as the Lillehammer affair. The agents claimed to have mistaken Bouchiki for Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief organizer for Black September who had planned the Munich massacre.

Raphael was arrested shortly after the killing and convicted of planned murder (the most serious murder conviction under Norwegian law), espionage, and use of forged documents by Eidsivating Court of Appeal on 1 February 1974. Despite being sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, she was released after serving 15 months and deported from Norway as a foreign criminal in May 1975, as foreigners convicted of serious crimes are routinely deported after serving their sentences.

After her release, Raphael married her Norwegian defense attorney, Annæus Schjødt, but was deported again after entering the country in 1977. Two years later she obtained a residence permit, but left the country with her husband in 1992, settling in her native South Africa where she died in 2005, aged 67, from leukemia.

A square named after her was erected in the Israeli town of Migdal.