Netanyahu Names Nadav Argaman as Next Shin Bet Chief

55-year-old Argaman, currently deputy Shin Bet chief, to replace Yoram Cohen in May 2016.

Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman
Shin Bet communications

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named deputy Shin Bet security service chief Nadav Argaman as the next Shin Bet head on Thursday.

The 55-year-old Argaman, a resident of the central Israeli city of Rosh Ha’ayin, will replace Yoram Cohen in May 2016.

Netanyahu praised Argaman, saying that he is confident that the Shin Bet will continue to stregthen itself at the operational and technical level and will continue to protect Israel under Argaman's command. Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu interviewed several candidates over the past few weeks and met with each of them several times before choosing Argaman.

Cohen welcomed Argaman's appointment, saying that Argaman's experience combined with his personal capabilities and professionalism will allow for him to take on the Shin Bet's present and future challenges.

President Reuven Rivlin said Argaman was "the right man in the right place." Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also praised Argaman, saying that he has no doubt Argaman can lead the organization successfully. "Nadav is the right man to take the baton from Yoram Cohen and lead the Shin Bet's dedicated employees and the entire organization with determination and responsibility in this complex reality," Ya'alon said.

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said that "Nadav Argaman is a worthy man with considerable experience in maintaining the security of Israel's citizens, and there's no doubt he will bring this experience to the position of Shin Bet head in a few months."

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz called Argaman to congratulate him on his appointment. Katz wished him success in the new post and said that "in this challenging time of threats and terror from within and without, the Shin Bet has an especially important role to play in defending the state and its citizens," adding that he is convinced that Argaman will do the job in the best possible way, as he has done throughout his service in the agency.

Argaman was drafted into an elite Israel Defense Forces unit in 1978. He joined the security establishment in 1983, serving various positions. Argaman served as head of Shin Bet operations between 2003-2007, then spent four years as the Shin Bet representative in the United States.

Argaman was loaned out to the Atomic Energy Commission between September 2014 and September 2015, before returning to serve as deputy Shin Bet chief after Roni Alsheich was named Israel Police commissioner.