Senior Shin Bet official fills post as the new head of Israel's National Security Council

After former head of Israel’s National Security Council Yossi Cohen left to take over the Mossad 18 months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally filled the empty position by appointing Shin Bet official Meir Ben Shabat.
Meir Ben Shabat Photo Credit: Prime Minister's Officer/Channel 2 News

After the position was left unfilled for over a year and a half, it was announced Sunday that Meir Ben Shabat, a senior member of the Shin Bet, will serve as the new head of the Israeli National Security Council. Ben Shabat, born in 1966, served over the last three years as the head of the Shin Bet’s Southern Region and will begin his term next Tuesday after being appointed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, Ben Shabat was not Netanyahu’s first pick. The prime minister initially appointed Avriel Bar-Yosef but a few days thereafter, it was revealed that he had been questioned and arrested in the submarine affair on suspicion of accepting bribes.

The last head of the NSC, Yossi Cohen, was appointed to be the head of the Mossad in January 2016 and since then, no one had been appointed to the post temporarily filled by Yaakov Nagel.

Ben Shabat graduated with honors in Political Science from Bar-Ilan University and is a graduate of the Tel Aviv University’s Executive MBA program. He has also completed a wide range of courses in the fields of intelligence and senior management.

Avriel Bar-Yosef in court Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Shabat was recruited by the Shin Bet in January 1989 immediately after completing his conscription service in the IDF’s Givati ​​Brigade. He began his career as an employee in the southern region, became an expert on Hamas affairs in the Gaza Strip and participated in most of the Shin Bet’s operations against the terror organization over the last two decades, including directing Operation Cast Lead.

Throughout his years in the organization, he served in a wide range of management positions both in operational and headquarter divisions. He headed two brigades and three divisions: The Cyber ​​Division, the National Anti-Terror, Espionage and Research and Policy Branch and the Southern Region.

The official announcement stated that "in these positions, he was responsible for the management of systems that included hundreds of employees and managers in various positions and in various professions. He conducted dozens of intelligence and preventive operations, established external relations, established new units, led structural changes, conducted research and strategic thinking and dealt with shaping policy on a long list of issues."

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