The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MK Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid), convened on Monday to bid farewell to outgoing National Security Council (NSC) head Meir Ben-Shabbat, who will be stepping down next week.
“As the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, it was our privilege to work with you as head of the National Security Council and also in your previous positions in the civil service,” Committee Chair MK Ben Barak said on behalf of all the committee members. “The spirit of your leadership ran like a common thread through all the representatives that were sent to appear before us on your behalf. Thank you for your significant contribution to the security of the state during this time, and in past years as well. We wish you great success in whichever path you take.”
After presenting Ben-Shabbat with a small gift, Committee Chair MK Ben Barak said, “Only a few people in the State of Israel are aware of your immense contribution with regards (sic) to the security of the state. I hope with all my heart that we will continue to see you do public work, and that we will continue to benefit from your wisdom and integrity for many years to come.”
Ben-Shabbat thanked the committee for the warm words and said “I am grateful for the privilege that was bestowed upon me to serve the State of Israel and work to bolster its national security.”
The outgoing NSC head said that during his four-year term he “witnessed historic events, met excellent people, saw the beautiful face of Israel, signed peace agreements and was involved [in] war maneuvers.”
The strategic balance, Ben-Shabbat said, “is positive, but it is also fragile and filled with challenges.” Blocking Iran, he said, is a “supreme priority,” and internally, “strengthening governance and public security is a central challenge for the state’s systems.” A determined and concerted effort, “and perhaps unorthodox solutions as well, will be required in order to reduce the amount of illegal arms and strengthen the personal security of the citizens of the state, in every place and at any time,” Ben-Shabbat stressed.
Ben-Shabbat said NSC officials who have worked with and appeared before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and its subcommittees “have always felt that the committee is conducting its work and meetings in a professional manner, with an approach that is placing state interests above sectarian concerns, practical, critical and fair.”
“I am passing the baton to Eyal Chulata with great confidence, and I am certain that he too will find the committee to be an effective and beneficial framework for supervision. I am certain that he will benefit from the ideas, outlooks and directions that are formulated during the dialogue with the committee, in light of the vast experience of its members and the many in-depth meetings it holds. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”