Cabinet Approves New Security Chief for Israel's Defense Ministry

Nir Ben Moshe's appointment was held up by Netanyahu – for reasons that are not clear.

The cabinet approved on Sunday the appointment of Nir Ben Moshe as the director of security of the defense establishment at its weekly meeting in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held up Ben Moshe’s appointment as head of the Defense Ministry’s Security Authority, one of Israel’s most sensitive security positions. It is not clear why Netanyahu delayed the appointment.

Ben Moshe, 48, has been serving as a Defense Ministry deputy director general and assistant to ministry director general Dan Harel, and was unanimously chosen by the team set up to fill the position being vacated by Amir Kane. Harel was one of the five members of the search committee that selected Ben Moshe as the best candidate for the job. The other members of the committee included representatives of the Justice Ministry, Civil Service Commission and various defense bodies.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved the appointment, but Netanyahu delayed the process.

Kane’s eight-year tenure ended at the end of July, but was extended twice until the end of November. Kane asked not to have his term extended for a third time. A temporary director was appointed to fill in for Kane until a replacement was approved.

Two weeks ago Ya’alon told Israel Radio: “I am sorry to say that the appointment has not yet been approved. ... We went through an organized process of establishing a search committee, which unsurprisingly recommended the best candidate.”

Defense sources criticized the delay in the appointment, but said they did not know the reason for it.

The Defense Security Authority is responsible for ensuring the security of the ministry, the country’s weapons industries and all the institutions that fall under the ministry, including the Nuclear Research Center in the Negev and the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Ziona.

The security authority is regarded as one of the most sensitive and secretive units in the defense establishment and both its operations and budget are not publicized. Ben-Moshe has served in the unit in several positions, including as Kane’s deputy. He started working for the authority in 1993.