Bennett Names Former Mossad Official as Israel's National Security Adviser

The prime minister praises Eyal Hulata's 'understanding of Israel's strategic challenges on the security and political fields'

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Sunday the appointment of a former senior Mossad official to the position of Israel's national security adviser and head of the National Security Council.

Eyal Hulata, 45, will be the National Security Council's youngest chief. For 23 year, he served in Israel's spy agency and headed its technology and strategic planning branches. He also has a Ph.D. in physics from Tel Aviv University.

Eyal Hulata.

In his statement, Bennett hailed Hulata's years of experience and "his understanding of Israel's strategic challenges on the security and political fields."

He is married with three children and lives in Kfar Sava, a central city neighboring Ra'anana, where Bennett resides.

Earlier this month, the incumbent national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, informed Prime Minister Bennett he will be stepping down at the end of August after four years in the job.

Ben-Shabbat, a former senior official in the Shin Bet security service, was appointed by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and had been considered one of Netanyahu's closest associates. 

Without any political experience or ties to politicians, let alone the prime minister, Hulata would have to prove himself to the government to retain the influential position his predecessor maintained.

Ben-Shabbat was involved in the efforts to normalize relations with more Arab countries after the deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as the Israeli policy on the threat posed by Iran. In addition, Ben-Shabbat's office dealt with matters that the national security team had not previously been involved with, including efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, a clearly civilian matter.

In the course of his four years on the job, the outgoing national security adviser was accused of using his authority to Netanyahu's political advantage.

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