PM taps Nadav Argaman as new head of Shin Bet

New director is current No. 2 of domestic security service , spent 3 years as its point man in US

Incoming Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman (Shin Bet)
Incoming Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman (Shin Bet)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday named Shin Bet deputy director Nadav Argaman as the next head of the security service.

Barring any difficulties in securing approval from the Turkel Committee, which oversees senior governmental appointments, Argaman will officially take up the position in May,

Argaman, Netanyahu said in a statement, “has a proven track record of commanding and operative experience at the Shin Bet. I am certain that under his command the Shin Bet will continue to grow stronger on the operative and technological fronts, and will continue to protect the security of Israel.”

Argaman, 55, is married and a father of three. Unlike the head of the Mossad intelligence agency Yossi Cohen and and Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, who both come from a religious background, Argaman is secular.

Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen (photo credit: Flash90)
Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen (photo credit: Flash90)

The incoming Shin Bet chief was drafted into the IDF in 1978, serving in an elite unit. In 1983, he joined the Shin Bet, where served in a variety of operative roles. From 2003 to 2007, Argaman was the Shin Bet’s representative in the US; he was made deputy head of the agency upon his return to Israel, and served in that role for three years.

In September 2014, he was appointed to Israel’s Committee on Atomic Energy. He returned to his former post as deputy Shin Bet chief in September 2015, at the request of outgoing director Yoram Cohen, in order to replace then-deputy chief Alsheich, who had just been named as the police commissioner.

Argaman has a BA in political science from Haifa University, and a master’s degree in security and strategy from the National Security College at the Haifa University.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon praised the appointment, saying in a statement: “The Shin Bet faces serious challenges in the fight against terrorism and in defending the security of the citizens of Israel, and I have no doubt that Nadav Argaman will lead the organization successfully. Nadav is a man of the field, with vast experience, and has held positions at the Shin Bet that will serve him well as he heads the organization.”

Argaman “is the right man to take the baton from Yoram Cohen and to lead the dedicated employees and the organization as a whole with determination and responsibility in this complex reality,” Ya’alon said.

President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday evening called Argaman to congratulate him, Rivlin’s office said.

The president told Argaman, “You are the right man at the right time, and I am sure that with your rich experience and professional wisdom […] you will enable Israeli citizens to live as normally as possible, even during these difficult days ahead.”

Police Chief Alsheich wished Argaman “great success. I have no doubt we will work together in harmony and cooperation for the benefit of the internal security of the state.”

Outgoing Shin Bet chief Cohen also praised Argaman. “I commend this appointment and am convinced Nadav will stand up to the challenges the Shin Bet faces. The head of the service and its employees wish him success.”

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