Netanyahu Appoints Senior Shin Bet Official as New National Security Advisor

Currently heading the Shin Bet's southern regional operations, official will be position's first permanent occupant in a year and a half

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on June 25, 2017
RONEN ZVULUN/AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint the head of the Shin Bet security service's southern district to the role of national security adviser, said a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office. As first reported in Israel Hayom on Friday morning, the new appointee has been identified only as M. and will also serve as the head of the National Security Council in the Prime Minister's Office.

M. has served in a number of senior positions within the Shin Bet, and is responsible for the prevention of terror attacks from Gaza and the Sinai in his present position. He will soon take over as acting national security advisor following official approval, first by a civil service appointments vetting committee followed by Netanyahu's own cabinet.  

The national security advisor official position has been left vacant for over a year and a half since then-advisor Yossi Cohen was named as the head of the Mossad. Cohen was later replaced by his deputy Jacob Nagel, who served as acting national security adviser. Netanyahu requested Nagel to fill the position permanently, but Nagel declined the offer for personal reasons and has since retired.

After Nagel's departure, Netanyahu temporarily appointed head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office Eitan Ben-David as acting national security adviser and has been examining potential candidates over the past few weeks before choosing M. 

M., born 1966, is a father of four and has served as the head of the Shin Bet's southern division for the past three years. He holds a BA in political science from Bar Ilan University and is a graduate of executive MA program for senior officials from Tel Aviv University.

M. first enlisted into the Shin Bet in January 1989 immediately after completing his army service in the Givati Brigade. During his career in the Shin Bet, M., also led the organization's cyber unit, national counter-terror and counter-intelligence unit, as well as leading the southern division's research department.