Kadima MK: Restrict Mossad Chief's Tenure to Four Years

Edery's bill comes in wake of controversial extension of Meir Dagan's tenure, resignation of deputy.

Kadima MK Jacob Edery on Monday submitted a bill to restrict the tenure of the head of the Mossad to four years, the same as the IDF chief of staff, Shin Bet security service chief, and the Police commissioner.

Edery's proposal came after Meir Dagan's term as head of the espionage agency had been extended for an eighth year last week, an unprecedented measure that stirred a controversy, including the resignation of Dagan's deputy.

"The current situation is unhealthy and wrong, and creates unnecessary tensions among Mossad's top brass, which apparently induced some of them to step down," Edery said.

According to Edery's bill, the government will have the authority, in exceptional cases, to extend the Mossad chief's tenure, by no longer than another year. The government would also be allowed to cut it short prior to the original end date.

He added, however, that even if the bill passes, it will only be applicable to Dagan's successor.

A major general in the reserves, who is a close friend of Dagan, outlined an intriguing scenario Sunday night: If Dagan ever agrees to a successor, that person will come neither from the ranks of the IDF nor Mossad.

The preferred candidate for Mossad head is current Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, whose term ends seven and a half months before Dagan will finish his eighth year in charge of the intelligence agency.

After Hagai Hadas, who was recently placed in charge of the Gilad Shalit file, was pushed out as deputy Mossad chief, T. took over, but was then sent for a two-year stint at the National Security College. Two years later, after Dagan pushed Naftali Granot out in June 2007, T. was brought back. On Sunday it was reported that he had resigned.

Two months ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to extend Dagan's tenure for another year. At the time, those close to T. said that if Dagan stays another year, T. was likely to step down.

Ergo, while the media focused on the power struggle between Dagan and Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin, apparently a much more vicious struggle has been raging within Mossad, directed against Dagan's deputy.

T. may be lured, only to be confronted by yet another outbreak of Dagan's deputy-phobia. Even if he remains in the background, he will have to contend with the fact that Netanyahu will likely be pushing for Hadas as his favorite candidate.