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Born in Be'er Sheva, Israel, on November 12, 1982, Ziva is the only surviving child of three fathered by the Israeli Mossad Director, Eli David: Ari, her elder, half-brother and her younger sister, Tali, who was killed in a Hamas suicide bombing at the age of 16. Though Ziva rarely mentions her, her mother Rivka taught Ziva how to drive, and despaired of Ziva ever acting like a girl. Her parents divorced when Ziva was 13.

As a child Ziva took ballet,though her father,Eli,trained her in combat tactics and espionage from a very early age. He was known to blindfold his children, then leave them to find their way home from wherever he left them. She was an avid student, and excelled at almost everything she set out to learn and do.

Directly after high school, Ziva became a Sabra when she went into the Israeli army (Tzahal being Israel Defense Forces) for two years (as is compulsory for all Israeli women), and volunteered to join Mossad as soon as she was eligible. During her time at Mossad, Ziva was part of a special operations unit known as Kidon, which is part of the Metsada (which is now code-named Komemiute). This unit specialized in assassinations, paramilitary operations, sabotage, and psychological warfare. Her position within that team was control officer. It was at this time she saved the life of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, when her brother,Ari, attempted to kill him.

        As a result of early, intensive training, she is very skilled in hand-to-hand combat and shooting Ziva is also a skilled assassin and able to take life without hesitation or apparent remorse when the situation requires. She's had to do awful things and watch awful things in her life; she has seen 12-year-old suicide bombers in Israel, and gone hungry long enough to resort to eating maggots.

She is also a student of languages and can speak ten languages fluently, those being: English, Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, French, Pashto, German, Italian, and Russian. She can speak a smattering of a host of others well enough to get by.

Ziva was involved in operations in Cairo, Egypt (where she met- and saved the life of- future NCIS Director, Jenny Shepard), in Iraq before its occupation, in Paris (where she worked with partner Namir Eschel), and in Eastern Europe (alongside Jenny Shepard), which was followed by six months in the United Kingdom on counter-terrorist operations directly prior to working with NCIS as a Mossad liaison.

DiNozzo, David, Gibbs, and McGee

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