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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Mossad has yet to settle down from the resignation last week of the spy agency's deputy director. Senior defense officials said Wednesday that they were concerned that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was planning to appoint a former IDF general to the senior post.
Last week, deputy head of the Mossad, T., announced his resignation following the government's decision to extend Mossad chief Meir Dagan's term by an eighth year.
T. decided to resign after Netanyahu refused to promise that he would be appointed Dagan's successor in 2010, officials said. According to officials close to the Mossad, there is concern that one of the IDF generals, who will be passed over in the upcoming round of appointments in the General Staff, will be appointed Dagan's deputy in place of the agency's current department chiefs.
"This would be a vote of no-confidence in the agency and the senior officials there," explained a former top Mossad official. "It is unlikely that the department chiefs will stay in their positions if a former general is brought instead of one of them." The assessment is that Netanyahu will want to appoint a deputy Mossad chief who will take over for Dagan a year from now, at the end of Dagan's eighth year in the post.
Some of the names that have been raised include former deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Kaplinsky, who resigned from the IDF after the Second Lebanon War, or OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, one of the two generals currently competing for the deputy chief of staff position.
The round of appointments in the General Staff has been held up for several months due to a disagreement between Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak over the next deputy chief of staff. Barak wants Galant to get the job but Ashkenazi reportedly favors OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot as his deputy.