New Shin Bet chief approved by vetting panel; misconduct allegations dismissed

Goldberg Committee says it found no issue with ‘Resh’ as well as the process to nominate him; he is expected to be formally appointed next week

Deputy head of the Shin Bet security service, 'Resh' is seen with military officials at an undated ceremony. (Screenshot: Channel 13 news)
Deputy head of the Shin Bet security service, 'Resh' is seen with military officials at an undated ceremony. (Screenshot: Channel 13 news)

The next designated head of the Shin Bet security service was approved by a key panel on Friday, despite an anonymous letter claiming unspecified misconduct by the candidate.

The Goldberg Committee said in a statement that it did not find any “defect in the purity of the qualities of the candidate” as well as not finding any issue with the process that resulted in him being appointed.

Two separate claims were made in an anonymous letter presented to the panel, the specifics of which could not be detailed publicly due to security constraints.

The candidate — who is the current deputy Shin Bet chief — can only be identified by the first Hebrew letter of his name, “Resh,” until he enters office.

With regards to the letter including the allegations, senior members of the committee told the Ynet news site that such missives are dangerous, and a solution to the issue must be found. Several similar letters about “Resh” have been sent to the committee since 2019, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

The claims made in those previous letters were already examined within the Shin Bet, and little evidence was found to substantiate them, according to Channel 12.

The committee notified Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of their decision, paving the way for “Resh” to be formally appointed. Bennett named him as the next Shin Bet chief in September.

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)

When news of the anonymous letter against “Resh” broke on Wednesday, the Shin Bet chief nominee issued a statement to the media saying, “This is an anonymous letter that was written and sent about three years ago and is now being widely distributed. Behind the letter is an interested party who previously wanted to undermine two promotions.”

“The letter lacks factual basis, is full of lies and is also intended to again hurt my appointment. If required, evidence of this will be presented to the senior appointments committee,” the Shin Bet deputy said.

“Resh” must now earn the approval of the government cabinet to be confirmed as Shin Bet chief and succeed Nadav Argaman on October 13.

“I believe in “Resh’s” honesty and strong values, and I am convinced he will professionally lead the Shin Bet, while maintaining the dignified manner and values ​​of the organization,” Argaman said on Friday following the committee’s decision.

Argaman 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 enable more time to find a suitable successor.

“Resh” 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. He 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.

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