Veteran Mossad Official Named Agency’s New Chief

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
The outgoing head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen. (Flash90)

A veteran Mossad official, who Israeli media said specialized in recruiting agents to work against Iran and its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, was named on Monday as the Israeli intelligence agency’s new chief.

David Barnea, 56, and currently the Mossad’s deputy director, will replace Yossi Cohen, early next month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Cohen is stepping down after more than five years at the Mossad’s helm, during which he was closely involved in Israel’s outreach to Gulf Arab states that resulted in peace deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last year.

Barnea joined the Mossad in 1996, serving as a case officer. From 2013 until his appointment in 2019 to the Mossad’s number two post, he commanded its Tzomet division, which Israeli media reports said recruits and runs agents.

The Haaretz newspaper said that as Tzomet’s commander, Barnea was responsible for enlisting agents against the Mossad’s top priority targets, Iran and Hezbollah.