The director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Yossi Cohen denied on Sunday political ties to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which might complicate any future governmental appointment after he leaves his post in two months.
The issue arose after Netanyahu expressed his desire to see Cohen play a role in his next government, if he’s reelected in March.
“His term ends in two months, and I would like him to continue [his work],” he told Channel 13. “I am considering including him in my next government.”
That prompted the Movement for Quality Government to demand that Cohen what political connection, if any, he has to the prime minister or his Likud party.
In response, Cohen said he has no partisan connections and that his only interest is in working for Israel’s security, regardless of who the prime minister might be.
In the same interview with Channel 13, Netanyahu addressed allegations which surfaced last week that Cohen promised to be loyal to the prime minister and his wife when he sought the position of national security adviser in 2013. “No such thing happened,” said Netanyahu. “Choosing Yossi Cohen was an entirely clean and correct decision.”
Israeli law bars outgoing defense officials from serving as government ministers for at least three years from their retirement date. That would prevent Cohen from serving as, say, Minister of Defense or Foreign Affairs.
But Cohen’s name has been floated as a potential candidate for a prestigious ambassadorship overseas, possibly in the United States or acting as Netanyahu’s special envoy for diplomatic matters