FORMER MOSSAD deputy chief Ram Ben-Barak says the qualities of a Mossad ‘warrior’ is his or her individual intuition, ability to cope with adversity and play multiple roles. .
(photo credit: SHIR SEGAL)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid took a step to bolster his roster of security figures on Monday by announcing that former deputy Mossad director Ram Ben Barak had joined the party.
Ben Barak joins former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Yaakov Peri, retired IDF Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern and former Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy, who are all current MKs, and Yoav Segalovich, former head of the police’s investigations unit, who will run with the party in the next election.
Peri has been the subject of controversy since last week when the Channel 2 news magazine Uvda revealed polygraph test results indicating that he had leaked sensitive information to Shas leader Arye Deri about police wiretaps of the latter’s associates during a corruption investigation that led to his bribery conviction. Peri has denied the allegations, and Lapid mocked them at the press conference.
“We knew that when we went up in the polls, they would look for dirt on us,” Lapid said at a Knesset press conference on Monday. “They are out to get us. If the best they can do is a polygraph test from 23 years ago, we are doing okay.”
Lapid said that unveiling Ben Barak’s candidacy had nothing to do with Peri. Yesh Atid officials said the press conference had been planned two weeks before, prior to the investigative report.
When The Jerusalem Post
asked Lapid at the press conference if he intended to bring a former IDF chief of staff to the party ahead of elections, he said he had been in contact with many people about that possibility. Former IDF chiefs Gabi Ashkenazi, Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya’alon, Shaul Mofaz and Ehud Barak are all on the political sidelines and could run with any party.
Ben Barak admitted in a radio interview that he had also been in contact with the Labor Party. Channel 2 reported that he rejected Labor because he could not be guaranteed a reserved slot on the party’s list.
His resume includes 33 years in the Mossad, seven years with the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, service in Washington as an attaché and guest researcher at the Brookings Institution, and time as director-general of the Ministry of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs. He has degrees from the National Defense College and Haifa University.
In 2015, Ben Barak was one of three finalists for the post of Mossad chief, but he lost to Yossi Cohen.
“He spent most of his life in the shadows of Israel’s security establishment,” Lapid said. “Within the establishment, he is a well-known and well-respected figure. Ben Barak led countless secret operations. He brings with him a strategic vision and operational experience that is almost unparalleled. He also brings a depth of knowledge on Iran and the forces operating inside Syria.”
Ben Barak thanked Lapid and said: “There are those who say they gave the best years of their life in service of their country. I’m of the belief that the service gives just as much to them. I feel it’s my duty to use the experience and knowledge I gained in my years in the Mossad, from being a fighter all the way to head of the Special Operations Division and deputy director of the Mossad, to continue to contribute to the state.”