Defense Ministry May Appoint Temporary Security Head

Prime minister reportedly withholding government approval for permanent nominee for one of Israel's most sensitive positions.

Sivan Parag

The Defense Ministry is expected to appoint a temporary Director of Security to replace the outgoing director due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reluctance to sign off on the chosen successor for one of Israel's most sensitive security positions.

The director is head of the Ministry of Defense Security Authority, which 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 Nez Ziona.

Defense Ministry Deputy Director General Nir Ben Moshe was unanimously chosen by the team set up to fill the position being vacated by Amir Kane and has been nominated for the post, but has not received the approval on Netanyahu.

"I am sorry to say that the appointment has not yet been approved," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in a radio interview in Sunday.

Kane's eight-year tenure ends today, after two extensions. A defense ministry source said that a temporary replacement for him is likely to be appointed.

"The prime minister and I are coordinated and get along very well for the good of the country and specifically for its security," Ya'alon said.

"We went through an organized process of establishing a search committee, which unsurprisingly recommended the best candidate. That now needs the approval of the government. I believe that will happen at some stage."

According to recent reports, Netanyahu is refusing to bring Ben Moshe's appointment to the government for approval. Defense Ministry sources have been unable to explain the reasons for the delay to Haaretz.

The security authority is regarded as one of the most sensitive and secretive units in the defense establishment and both its activities and its budget are not publicized.

Ben-Moshe has served in the unity in several positions, including as Kane's deputy.