Netanyahu appoints ex-Shin Bet head Avi Dichter deputy defense minister
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Netanyahu appoints ex-Shin Bet head Avi Dichter deputy defense minister

Former public security minister says he’s ‘pleased to have the opportunity to add another brick in the wall of the security of Israel’

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair MK Avi Dichter, left, at an FADC meeting in the Knesset, November 19, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair MK Avi Dichter, left, at an FADC meeting in the Knesset, November 19, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Likud lawmaker and former head of the Shin Bet security service Avi Dichter as deputy defense minister, the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday.

Dichter, 66, will replace former Jewish Home and Union of Right-Wing Parties MK Eli Ben Dahan, who lost his seat in September’s election.

In a statement, Dichter thanked Netanyahu — who is also defense minister — for the job, which he said comes “during a challenging time in Israel’s security.”

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to add another brick in the wall of the security of Israel, led by Prime Minister and Defense Minister Netanyahu,” Dichter said.

Dichter entered Israeli political life in 2005 when he joined Kadima after serving as head of the Shin Bet security service. He defected to Likud in 2012 and Netanyahu appointed him to the post of homefront defense minister that year based on his professional background as Shin Bet head and as a former public security minister for Kadima. Dichter, like Netanyahu is a veteran of the IDF’s elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal.

Dichter had served as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee until Blue and White lawmaker Gabi Ashkenazi, a former army chief of staff, took the helm of the powerful parliamentary body after the formal swearing-in of the 22nd Knesset earlier this month.

Dichter’s appointment comes during Netanyahu’s second caretaker government in a year, amid deep political deadlock in Israel after the inconclusive April and September elections, which have thus far failed to yield a governing coalition.

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