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Offering Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor the "Schalit Dossier" and asking him to oversee Israeli efforts to recover Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity is a controversial but shrewd move.
A politician is naturally reluctant to accept such sensitive responsibilities. But if Meridor succeeds where others have failed, there is no doubt that his political career will get a major boost. If he fails like those before him, though, his reputation will likely be stained forever.
On the other hand, he might just be what the negotiations need to succeed. A former justice and finance minister and author of Israel's official defense doctrine, Meridor has for decades been exposed to the Israeli defense and intelligence machinery.
Before reentering politics - ahead of the recent elections - Meridor was a member of several committees that dealt with strategic threats such as Iran. If he takes the Schalit post, he will work with the Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman.
Until now, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) deputy chief Ofer Dekel has been running the talks. During his two-and-a-half-year term as the point man for the indirect negotiations with Hamas, Dekel faced opposition from the Shin Bet and the Mossad, whose directors - Yuval Diskin and Meir Dagan - challenged his authority.
Meridor will likely not face such opposition. He is currently the minister in charge of the intelligence agencies. In addition, he is a member of the cabinet and not a former Shin Bet deputy chief like Dekel. When he issues directives or sets policy it will be interpreted as being in the name of the prime minister and the government.