Senior IDF Intelligence Chief Quits Over Tension Among MI Top Brass

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From left, Brig. Gen. Eli Ben-Meir, his commanding officer and the IDF's MI chief, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, and Brig. Gen. Itay Baron, who preceded Ben-Meir as research department head.
From left, Brig. Gen. Ben-Meir, MI chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, and Brig. Gen. Itay Baron, who preceded Ben-Meir as research department head.Credit: IDF Spokesman's Office

Brig. Gen. Eli Ben-Meir, head of the research department of the Israel Defense Forces' Military Intelligence Directorate, is leaving his post due do professional differences with his superiors, Haaretz learned on Monday.

The position, the second most senior in Military Intelligence, involves the consolidating of intelligence assessments and presenting them to the political leadership.

Last week, Ben-Meir informed his commanding officer, MI chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, that he wished to step down due to disagreements over working methods in the department. 

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was informed of the request and approved it. Ben-Meir will not leave his position immediately, and a search has begun for his replacement.

A security source confirmed that there have been disputes between Ben-Meir and other officers, including Halevi, but notes that they did not concern any specific intelligence issues per se.

Ben-Meir formerly held a range of other intelligence-related positions, including intelligence officer for the Southern Command and the intelligence attache in the United States. He is known for his strong opinions.

The IDF Spokesman's Office offered this response to the report: “The chief of staff decided to honor the request from the head of the research department, Brig. Gen. Eli Ben-Meir, to end his tenure ahead of schedule during the coming months. The officer’s resignation is not related to any dispute regarding a professional intelligence matter. He is a very esteemed, dedicated and professional officer who has served in the IDF for 30 years in senior positions in the Intelligence Branch.”

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