PM names deputy Mossad head as new National Security council chief

Appointment of Yossi Cohen as replacement for Yaakov Amidror to come for cabinet approval on Sunday.

By
August 21, 2013 21:28
2 minute read.
Netanyahu during cabinet meeting to vote on Palestinian prisoners release, July 28, 2013.

Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday the appointment of deputy Mossad head Yossi Cohen as head of the National Security Council, replacing Yaakov Amidror who will be stepping down in the next few months.

Cohen, 52, is a 30-year veteran of the Mossad who has risen through the ranks there and held a wide variety of positions, including as director of the department responsible for running Mossad agents around the world.

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Although not a household name, Cohen is well-known inside the security and intelligence community. He was the recipient of the prestigious Israel Security Prize, given to Israelis recognized for achievements in improving state security and maintaining its power and qualitative advantage on the battlefield, both technologically and operationally.

According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office, Cohen has served for the last two years as Mossad head Tamir Pardo’s deputy. Cohen, according to the statement, has throughout his career at the Mossad gained a great deal of knowledge and skill managing large operations and is intimately acquainted both in dealing with the security and political systems inside Israel and in the international arena.

“Cohen has the experience and special talents that make him the most eligible for this important position,” Netanyahu said.

“He has served Israel successfully for three decades in field and management positions in the Mossad. He knows very well the security and important international issues.”

Netanyahu praised Amidror, who has served in the post for two-and-a-half years, saying that he will continue to use Amidror’s services in the future.

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Cohen’s appointment was vetted by Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan.

Cohen will be the ninth head of the National Security Council since its formation in 1999, and the fourth to be culled from the ranks of the Mossad, which included Ephraim Halevi, Ilan Mizrahi and Uzi Arad.

Two others, Amidror and Dani Arditi, held senior positions in Military Intelligence.

Arad, who served as head of the National Security Council from 2009-2011 and was instrumental in raising the status and professional profile of the institution, praised the choice.

“I was delighted to hear it,” Arad told The Jerusalem Post. “He is an outstanding intelligence officer of versatility and experience, and a first-rate man.”

Cohen is a Jerusalem native, married with four children. His appointment will come to the cabinet for approval on Sunday.

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