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PM announces first series of appointments of aides

Bennett picks new chief, ‘Resh,’ for Shin Bet security service

Until he enters office, the current deputy head of the organization can only be identified by the first Hebrew letter of his name

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday selected the deputy head of the Shin Bet security service to succeed the current leader of the organization, Nadav Argaman.

For security reasons, the deputy Shin Bet chief can only be identified by the first Hebrew letter of his name, “Resh,” until he enters office.

“Resh is a courageous fighter and an excellent commander. I have no doubt that he will lead the service to new heights of excellence for the security of Israel,” Bennett said in a statement announcing Resh’s appointment.

Resh is expected to formally enter the role in the coming weeks, replacing Nadav Argaman, who has served at the head of the organization since 2016. One of Bennett’s first acts as premier was to extend Argaman’s tenure through October in order to allow for more time to find a suitable successor.

Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reportedly planned to appoint his national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, as the new director of the agency, but he faced staunch opposition from Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Resh beat out the prior deputy head of the Shin Bet, who can only be identified by the first Hebrew letter of his name, also “Resh.”

The incoming Shin Bet chief served in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Sayeret Matkal unit, the same detachment in which Bennett served, and then entered the ranks of the Shin Bet as a field agent.

“As part of his years-long service for the security of Israel, Resh fought in and commanded many operations in the Gaza Strip, in Judea and Samaria, and in Lebanon,” the Prime Minister’s Office said, using the biblical term for the West Bank.

Resh was tapped to lead the Shin Bet’s Operations Division in 2011, became head of the service’s resource development department in 2016, and took over as deputy head of the organization in 2018.

“In light of his extensive experience, his actions and his understanding of the significant challenges facing the State of Israel in general and the Shin Bet security service in particular, Prime Minister Bennett decided to appoint him to the position of the next head of the Shin Bet,” the PMO said.

Argaman said in a statement that his chosen successor has “extensive professional experience that entails proven management and commanding skills in a long list of operations and activities.”

Argaman said Resh “excelled in all of the positions he held” and expressed confidence that “his abilities, personality and values will lead him to success when dealing with the many challenges facing the agency.”

Defense Minister Gantz also hailed the decision to appoint Resh to the position, calling it “an excellent choice.”

“As someone who has known him for decades in all the operational positions that he has held, I have no doubt that he will lead the Shin Bet to great operational achievements in the years to come. At this time, I also want to thank the outgoing head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Aragaman, for his years of service, for preserving the security of Israel and for leading the Shin Bet to breakthrough achievements in counterterrorism,” Gantz said.

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