Panel Approves Shin Bet Chief Appointment Despite Misconduct Allegations

The candidate, who now serves as deputy head of Shin Bet, appeared before the vetting committee to respond to an anonymous letter accusing him of misconduct

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Outgoing Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman (L) and PM Naftali Bennett at the Shin Bet headquarters in July.
Outgoing Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman (L) and PM Naftali Bennett at the Shin Bet headquarters in July.

A vetting panel determined Friday that the deputy director of the Shin Bet security service could be appointed as the next agency head, after reviewing an anonymous letter that accused him of misconduct.

The appointment is subject to government approval. 

The Goldberg Committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg, is an independent body that vets nominees for senior civil service positions before the cabinet approves their appointment. According to a source familiar with the committee's work, anonymous letters are usually met with skepticism. 

The panel asked the candidate, R., to respond to the accusations made in the letter, which also insinuated that other Shin Bet officials have been involved in the alleged misconduct.  R. presented the committee members with a detailed explanation, refuting the accusations.

According to the Prime Minister's office, "the committee reviewed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's appointment of the Shin Bet's deputy director, R. [whose name may not be published] as the head of the agency. After examining all the information that was presented to it, the committee has not found any proof of misconduct in R.'s behavior, nor did it find any faults in the considerations to appoint him." 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced last month that R. was his choice to lead the Shin Bet. He has served as the agency’s deputy director since 2018. Prior to that, he held several senior posts in its operations department, where current Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman spent much of his career.

Argaman said Friday that he welcomes the committee's decision, adding that he trusts "R.'s integrity and firm values."

R., 55, did his army service in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and was recruited to the Shin Bet shortly after being discharged. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University.

In 2011, he became head of the operations department, and in 2016, he was put in charge of the unit responsible for building up the agency’s forces. He is married and a father of three.

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