The cabinet on Sunday approved the appointment of Ram Ben Barak as director general of the new, combined Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Ministry.
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Ben Barak, the former deputy head and chief of operations for the Mossad espionage agency, was chosen by Minister Yuval Steinitz to carry out the merger of the two ministries under his purview: strategic affairs and intelligence.
Ben Barak is considered to be one of the leading candidates to head the Mossad after Tamir Pardo, who is scheduled to finish his term next year.
Ben Barak began his career as a combat soldier and later officer in Sayeret Matkal, the Israel Defense Forces General Staff’s elite special-operations force. After leaving the army he moved to the Mossad, where he served in field operations.
Over a period of two decades Ben Barak rose through the ranks until he reached the post of chief of operations, and was later named deputy head of the agency.
After finishing this last post, he was "borrowed" by the IDF, serving as the coordinator of special operations between the army and the Mossad.
Ben Barak was a senior research associate at the Brookings Institute in Washington. He is a graduate of Israel's National Defense College, and has a master’s degree in political science and national security affairs from the University of Haifa. His wife Ayelet is a physician and they have two daughters and a son.
Ben Barak will replace two existing ministerial directors general: Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, who served for the past six years under Moshe Ya'alon and then Steinitz, at the Ministry of Strategic Affairs; and Yuval Wollman, who worked at the Intelligence Ministry under Steinitz for the past two years.