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Bennett taps former senior Mossad official as his new national security adviser

Eyal Hulata, 45, spent 23 years in spy agency; PM praises his ‘experience, performance, and understanding of Israel’s strategic challenges’

Eyal Hulata in an undated photograph. (courtesy)
Eyal Hulata in an undated photograph. (courtesy)

Prime Minister Bennett announced Sunday the appointment of Eyal Hulata as the head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Hulata, 45, served in Israel’s Mossad spy agency for some 23 years, including in senior positions.

During his service, he headed the spy agency’s department for strategic planning and its technology unit.

Also during his time in the Mossad, Hulata was awarded the Israel Defense Prize for unspecified actions.

“In light of his years-long experience, performance, and understanding of Israel’s strategic challenges in the security and diplomatic spheres, Prime Minister Bennett chose to appoint him,” a statement from the prime minister said.

Hulata lives in the central city of Kfar Saba, with his wife and three children. He holds a PhD in physics from Tel Aviv University, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, and is a graduate of the IDF’s Talpiot program at the Hebrew University.

Hulata will succeed Meir Ben-Shabbat, who announced earlier this month that he would be stepping down from the role.

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat during a ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport prior to visiting Bahrain to sign a series of bilateral agreements between Jerusalem and Manama, October18, 2020. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL via FLASH90)

After the new government was sworn in last month, Bennett asked Ben-Shabbat to stay on until he selected a replacement.

The new appointment is pending government approval. Ben-Shabbat will meet with Hulata for an “orderly transition process,” the statement added.

Bennett was in the past highly critical of the NSC’s performance during the 2014 Gaza war, saying it did not fulfill its role of providing varied options for the cabinet to consider.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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