After eight years as head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan will step down in the coming
weeks after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday announced the
appointment of Tamir Pardo as the next head of the espionage agency.
announcement ended weeks of speculation as to who would succeed
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Pardo is a longtime Mossad veteran who served as Dagan’s deputy
before leaving the agency in 2009, reportedly after Dagan refused to back his
candidacy to replace him as director.
Dagan was appointed head of the
Mossad by Ariel Sharon in 2002 and was tasked with restructuring the agency
after a slew of mishaps. He decided to turn the Mossad’s attention to two main
objectives – preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and waging a shadow
war against the ‘axis of evil’ made up of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and
In announcing the appointment, Netanyahu said that Pardo had
dozens of years of experience and was “the right person to lead the Mossad in
the coming years in light of the complex challenges facing the State of
Pardo is reportedly a family friend of Netanyahu. He served in
the elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, known as Sayeret Matkal, with the
prime minister’s older brother Yoni, who was killed during the Entebbe raid in
He was a communications officer in Sayeret Matkal and was
reportedly assigned to missions that required an operative with technical
Pardo joined the Mossad in 1980 and was assigned to its
operations branch. He is credited with establishing the infrastructure that led
to a strengthening of ties between the Mossad and Military Intelligence in
recent years, after spending a year as an adviser to the IDF’s Operations
Directorate, including during the Second Lebanon War.
In a statement put
out by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation to
Dagan for his contribution to the nation’s security, and said he was certain he
would continue to contribute in the future as well.
Other candidates were
former head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin and Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, who will step down from his post in mid-2011.
“I have known Tamir for a number of decades
and from different missions that we carried out together,” Defense Minister Ehud
Barak said. “He is a professional with rich operational experience and is
suitable to lead the Mossad.”
Barak was reported to have been opposed to
the appointment since Pardo had seen the so-called Galant Document, after it was
shown to him by Col. (res.) Gabi Siboni, the former IDF officer who leaked it to
Pardo was not involved in writing the document, but Siboni had
reportedly consulted with him before leaking it to the media.
appointment is subject to approval by the Turkel Committee for senior