Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that Meir Ben-Shabbat would be taking over as head of the National Security Council (NSC) this week, filling a role that has been vacant since 2015.
Ben-Shabbat, who previously served as a senior official in the Shin Bet, is scheduled to begin in the position on Tuesday, Netanyahu said at the start of this week’s cabinet meeting.
“He has a wealth of experience and practice in defending the security of Israel in the Shin Bet, including his latest position as head of the southern district,” Netanyahu said. “He is also well known to the members of the cabinet, who have already heard the clarity of his thoughts and have been assisted by his experience.”
Yossi Cohen, who currently leads the Mossad, served as national security adviser from 2013 to 2015. When he left, the post was left empty.
Yaakov Nagel served as acting national security adviser from 2015 until March of 2017. He was replaced on an interim basis by Eitan Ben-David.
Ben-Shabbat, 51, a shomer Shabbos Jew, father of four, served for the past three years as head of the Shin Bet’s Southern Region.
He joined the Shin Bet in 1989. He acquired expertise in Hamas in the Gaza Strip and participated in most of the operations against it in the past two decades.
Ben-Shabbat personally led the Shin Bet’s efforts in Gaza during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead.
Throughout his years in the Shin Bet, he performed a wide range of management duties in the operational and headquarter divisions. Among them, he headed two brigades and served as head of three divisions: the Cyber Division, the National Anti-Terror Espionage, Research and Policy branch.
He was responsible for the management of hundreds of employees and managers in various capacities and in various areas of expertise. He conducted dozens of intelligence and preventive operations, established extensive external relations and new units, led structural changes, conducted research and strategic planning, and dealt with shaping policy on a long list of issues.