Committee Okays Appointment of Yossi Cohen to Head the Mossad

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National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hearing, December 7, 2014.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

The advisory committee on senior appointments and positions chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel approved the appointment of National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen as the next head of the Mossad intelligence agency, Sunday.

The committee met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the outgoing head of the Mossad Tamir Pardo and Yossi Cohen himself on Sunday, before arriving at the decision.

Cohen, who has headed the National Security Council since 2013, is a former deputy chief of the Mossad and former head of the organization’s Tzomet division, which operates agents. The term of the current Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, ends in January, when Cohen takes over.

Cohen beat out two senior Mossad veterans for the post. One is former Mossad deputy head Ram Ben-Barak, who is now director general of the intelligence ministry, and the current deputy Mossad head, who can only be identified as “N.”

“The decision was difficult,” Netanyahu said. “All three candidates are outstanding and talented.”

Cohen, 54, is a 30-year Mossad veteran who was responsible for numerous sensitive diplomatic and security missions. The Tzomet division that he headed is responsible for HUMINT – collecting intelligence from human sources – in other words, recruiting and operating agents and informers.

While Cohen headed Tzomet, he and his subordinates received the prestigious Israel Defense Prize, which recognizes achievements in improving state security and maintaining Israel’s power and qualitative advantage on the battlefield.

Cohen, a Jerusalem native, is married and the father of four.

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