National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen will not be the next head of the Mossad, the current head, Tamir Pardo, has told his associates.
Pardo’s term ends in January, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to interview any candidates to succeed him.
The three contenders are Cohen, a former deputy head of the Mossad and head of the National Security Council since 2013; Ram Ben Barak, deputy head of the Mossad until 2011 and now director-general of the Intelligence and Atomic Energy Ministry; and N., the organization’s current deputy head. Pardo’s analysis is that no candidates from the army are being considered, despite reports to the contrary.
Pardo has told associates in recent weeks that Cohen will not be chosen and that one of the two other candidates will be picked. It is a rather surprising position, since Cohen, who has been responsible for numerous sensitive diplomatic and security missions, is highly admired by Netanyahu, who has the sole say in this appointment. It should also be noted that Pardo and Cohen do not get along.
N., who is unknown to the public, is a native of Tel Aviv. He was previously head of the Mossad’s Keshet branch, which integrates technology and operations, as well as of the technology department.
Ben Barak, a native of Moshav Nahalal, was the Mossad’s chief of operations before becoming the organization’s deputy head. At one point he was lent to the IDF to coordinate special operations between the army and the Mossad, a task Pardo also fulfilled in the past. In his youth Ben Barak was an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal special operations force.
The Mossad denied the report, saying that Pardo "considers all three candidates worthy of the position."