Government okays settlements official as new National Security Ministry director

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

The appointment of settlements official Rafael Engel as director-general of the National Security Ministry is approved by the government, the far-right Otzma Yehudit party announces in a statement lauding the selection.

As deputy chief of the Binyamin Regional Council, Engel, who is also a member of the Likud Central Committee, managed security issues including “the establishment and maintenance of security elements in the settlements” and maintaining relations with various security bodies, the statement says.

According to Haaretz, however, Engel lacks substantive security experience, though that did not stop the Civil Service Commission from approving him for the role earlier this month.

“The Commission has deviated from its policy in order to approve an appointment that does not meet the standards it demanded,” a commission source told the Hebrew daily at the time.

The ministry’s previous director-general, Shlomo Ben Eliyahu, resigned last September, citing “personal reasons,” although media reports indicated that he may have left due to clashes with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

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