Vetting committee green lights R as Shin Bet chief 

With the Goldberg Committee approving of Shin Bet nominee R, alleged scandals have been dismissed as non-issues.

Shin Bet (illustrative) (photo credit: PEXELS)
Shin Bet (illustrative)
(photo credit: PEXELS)

The government’s vetting committee for senior appointments on Friday cleared “R” to be the next Shin Bet Director starting October 13.

His name and picture will be made public once the government gives final approval, but at this point that is basically a rubber stamp since the entire political spectrum has been supportive of R’s nomination following his decades of service in the agency, including serving as the current deputy chief.

Briefly, between Wednesday night and Friday, there was sudden concern that his nomination might tank like Moshe Edri, who was blocked by the vetting committee in 2018 from becoming chief of police based on a last-minute scandal.

But the Goldenberg Committee for Senior Appointments, led by former Supreme Court justice and state comptroller Eliezer Goldenberg, said it found nothing improper about R’s conduct once it heard from him, outgoing Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman and other involved officials.

Since the anonymous letter detailing two unspecified alleged incidents of misconduct against R have been rejected and Shin Bet processes are classified, it is unclear whether their substance will ever come to light.

On September 1, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett nominated R to succeed Argaman, who beat out the most recent former deputy Shin Bet chief, also known as “R,” in the mainly two-way race.

Prior to June when opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, former senior Shin Bet official and Netanyahu’s National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat had been the favorite.

But he was never seriously considered for the position by Bennett due to his closeness with Netanyahu and objections to his candidacy from within portions of the Shin Bet itself.

SHIN BET Director Nadav Argaman.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)SHIN BET Director Nadav Argaman. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

R is 55, married and has three children.

He had a university degree in political science and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a master’s degree in public management from Harvard University.

R served in the IDF as part of the elite Sayeret Matkal reconnaissance special forces unit.

Bennett served in the same unit during his IDF service, though he is younger than R, some believe this influenced his final decision.