Pardo issues rare statement congratulating his successor

The competition between the three candidates was “honorable and decent,” Pardo said, adding that he was certain Cohen would lead the organization “with confidence, creativity and courage.”

December 8, 2015 17:35
4 minute read.
Mossad chief Tamir Pardo

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Amid reports that outgoing Mossad head Tamir Pardo opposed the appointment of his former deputy Yossi Cohen as the new Mossad chief, Pardo issued a rare public statement on Tuesday congratulating Cohen and saying that each of the three final candidates for the position was worthy of the post.

Pardo also stressed that it was positive that all three candidates – Cohen, Rami Ben-Barak, and his current deputy who can only be identified by the initial of his name, N – came from within the ranks of the intelligence organization.

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“For the first time in its history there were three candidates who were mobilized into the Mossad as operatives and served for dozens of years in a variety of field and commander positions,” Pardo said.

Pardo reportedly backed “N.”

The outgoing Mossad chief, who has served in that post for just short of five years, said that each of the candidates served under him as his deputy, and “each was worthy of the job, and that is what I presented to the prime minister.”

The competition between the three candidates was “honorable and decent,” he said, adding that he was certain Cohen would lead the organization “with confidence, creativity and courage.”

Diplomatic sources said that there was no truth to reports that there was a great deal of last-minute pressure on Netanyahu not to name Cohen. The sources said Netanyahu consulted with Pardo and his predecessor, Meir Dagan, and reached his decision after holding three rounds of interviews with each of the candidates.

According to one report, Netanyahu enlisted support for Cohen from Dagan – who, since he left the Mossad in 2010, has been a sharp critic of the prime minister – because of Pardo’s opposition.

Cohen, who since mid-2013 has worked very close to Netanyahu as his head of the National Security Council, told reporters early Tuesday morning, “I am excited by the magnitude and importance of this position. I promise to do everything I can in order to offer the people of Israel and the State of Israel good operations and high-quality intelligence.”

Cohen’s father, Aryeh, told Israel Radio that his son met Netanyahu some 90 minutes before the announcement, but did not know for certain that he would be appointed until he saw the prime minister deliver the statement.

Cohen watched the delivery of the statement with his parents Monday evening at their home.

“There were shouts of joy” in the house when Netanyahu announced his choice, the elder Cohen said. “This is not a small thing.”

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