Three senior NSC officials step down

Council head Ilan Mizrachi: Resignations not connected; claims departure not politically-related.

By
September 10, 2007 21:55
2 minute read.
Three senior NSC officials step down

ilan mizrachi 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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National Security Council head Ilan Mizrachi announced Monday that he will be leaving on November 1, after holding the position for some 18 months. His deputy, Itamar Ya'ar, and the head of the council's counterterrorism unit, Danny Arditti, will also be leaving their posts. Mizrachi said the resignations were not connected, and that Ya'ar and Arditti simply decided to leave after holding their respective positions for five years. Mizrachi's departure comes at a time when the head of the NSC, according to proposed legislation stemming from the interim conclusions of the Winograd Committee, is set to become one of the most powerful men in the Prime Minister's Office. Mizrachi told The Jerusalem Post his resignation had nothing to do with bureaucratic politics, as had been suggested in some reports, but rather because he felt he had achieved what he set out to do, and wanted to spend more time with his family after serving many years in the public sector. However, his departure continues the trend of NSC heads serving relatively short periods, with several of his predecessors lamenting, privately or publicly, that they felt marginalized and unable to impact policy-making. Previous holders of the post, who have included: Maj.-Gen. (res.) David Ivry, a former IAF commander and ambassador to Washington; former Mossad director Efraim Halevy; Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan; and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, have barely averaged two years. The NSC was only set up in 1999. Mizrachi, a former deputy director of the Mossad, has kept an extremely low profile at the NSC, so much so that most of the country probably does not know what he looks like or what his voice sounds like. "We never dealt with public relations," he said, in an understatement. Mizrachi listed among his achievements the presentation of numerous papers on key issues that influenced the prime minister's thinking, preparation of the security cabinet meetings, the creation of a situation room in the Prime Minister's Office for times of crisis, and moving the NSC offices from the center of the country to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem to afford greater access and involvement. That office said in a statement that Mizrachi "greatly contributed to upgrading the status of the NSC and was involved in a series of measures designed to improve its abilities and its functioning. He was also involved - inter alia - in the work of the Lipkin-Shahak Committee on implementing the Winograd Committee interim report. He participated in security and diplomatic consultations held by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and oversaw the agenda of the security cabinet." The Winograd Committee of the Second Lebanon War's interim report issued on April 30 called for "substantial improvement in the functioning of the National Security Council, the establishment of a national assessment team, and creating a center for crises management in the Prime Minister's Office." Olmert set up a panel to implement these recommendations headed by former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, which presented its findings in early July and called for the establishment of a National Security Staff, based on the NSC, which would be a centralized body with significant authority that gathers and prepares in an orderly fashion the material needed for those assigned with making key national decisions. According to the proposal, the new NSC would be the sole body in the Prime Minister's Office dealing with security and diplomatic matters, and its head would answer directly to the prime minister and be appointed by him, as would his deputy.

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