As Party Climbs in Polls, Former Deputy Mossad Chief Joins Yair Lapids Centrist Yesh Atid

Ram Ben-Barak boosts the centrist partys security credentials, though Lapid says the new man will also fight the 'corruption and cronyism' that plagues Israel

Ram Ben-Barak on Moshav Nahalal, September 2017.
Gil Eliahu

The deputy head of the Mossad from 2009 to 2011, Ram Ben-Barak, has joined Yair Lapids centrist Yesh Atid party, Lapid told the partys legislators.

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Lapid said Ben-Barak would broaden the partys credentials on security issues, not to mention his Israeli values of patriotism, integrity and fairness. Ben-Barak is also president of the startup Fifth Dimension, which helps governments and companies process data.

Yesh Atid has done well in recent opinion polls; in one released Friday by the daily Maariv, the Panels Politics research firm said Lapids party would come in first and capture 27 of the Knessets 120 seats if an election were held today. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud would come in second at 22 seats.

Ben-Barak said he was well placed for his new job. I feel it my duty to use the experience and know-how I gained during my many years in the Mossad and continue to contribute to the service of the state, he said.

Ben-Barak joined the Mossad in 1984 and was deputy head from 2009 to 2011 under Meir Dagan.

He said that after meeting several times with Lapid and other party members, it was clear the Yesh Atid chief was capable of leading change.

He isnt coming to fight just the terror organizations and Iran, but also corruption, cronyism, Israeli societys loss of values and the rotten political system thats preoccupied with itself, forgetting that theres such a thing as the people, Lapid said.

Ben-Barak once told Haaretz that he supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, though it should be a long process.

Ben-Barak was born and grew up on Moshav Nahalal in the north, where he still lives. He entered the army in 1976 served as an officer in the Sayeret Matkal commando force until 1981.

From 2014 to 2016 he was director general of the Intelligence Affairs Ministry, and lost out to Yossi Cohen, the national security adviser who moved over to Mossad chief in January 2016.

In September, Ben-Barak told Haaretz he would join politics and had received offers, but declined to give details. He said that while at the Mossad he was given more than he gave, so now it was time to give.