Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Yossi Cohen, currently the National Security Advisor, to serve as the 12th head of the Mossad on Monday night.
Cohen will succeed Tamir Pardo, who will be leaving his post after five years.
The announcement ends weeks of conjecture about the next person to lead the country’s foreign intelligence arm, regarded as one of the best in the world.
Cohen has served as National Security Advisor, heading the National Security Council, since August 2013, when he took over from Yaakov Amidror. During that time, he served as a key liaison between Netanyahu and various countries, including the U.S.
Prior to his post at the National Security Council, Cohen served 30 years in the Mossad, serving as director of the department responsible for handling Mossad agents around the world, among other positions.
For his work in the Mossad, Cohen was awarded the coveted Israel Security Prize, given to Israelis recognized for achievements in state security and improving its qualitative advantage on the battlefield, both technologically and operationally.
Cohen, 54, grew up in Yerushalayim.
His mother, Minna, was a veteran teacher, a seventh-generation Israeli, from a family with roots in Chevron. His father, Aryeh, was a senior officer at the Bank Mizrahi and eighth-generation Israeli, from one of the families that had established the Meah She’arim neighborhood in Yerushalayim.
Cohen graduated from the Or Etzion Yeshiva high school headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman, and was the only kippah-wearing member of his Mossad training course and as the head of the Mossad station in Europe.