Two new Appointments for Key Positions in Israel



by Ilan Evyatar/TPS

August 28, 2017

Two new Appointments for Key Positions in Israel

The first appointment was:
Maj.Gen Amikam Norkin was appointed as the new commander of the Israel Air Force (IAF), replacing Maj.Gen Amir Eshel, who served in the position for the last five-and-a-half years and will retire after a 40-year military career.

At a ceremony at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, Norkin, 51, who comes into the position after serving as head of the IDF Planning Directorate, said he was taking over an air force that had widened its capabilities and expanded its strategic connections with other air forces in the region and beyond.

“The IAF will absorb new capabilities in the coming years and widen its responsibilities,” said Norkin, referring to the 45 F-35 stealth fighter jets the air force is due to take delivery of over the next few years. Thanking his predecessor, Norkin said had been a “brave pilot” who had taken the force “higher and higher.”

The second appointment was:
Meir Ben Shabat was named as the head of the National Security Council and as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser.

Ben Shabat comes to the position from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) where he headed its southern division for the past three years. He will replace acting NSC head Eytan Ben David.

The NSC has been without a permanent director since Yossi Cohen left the position to lead the Mossad in January 2016. Cohen was replaced by Ya’akov Nagel who served as acting head of the NSC until April 2017, but turned down Netanyahu’s offer to take up the position on a permanent basis, citing personal reasons. Eytan Ben David took over as acting head and will now remain in the NSC but the prime minister did not disclose what his role would be.

In February 2016, Netanyahu offered the position to the NSC’s former deputy head Avriel Bar Yossef; however, the NGO Ometz (Citizens for Proper Administration and Social and Legal Justice) petitioned against the appointment on the grounds that he had received benefits for promoting the interests of an overseas businessman. He later decided to turn down the offer and in November 2016 he was questioned by police on suspicion of bribery, money laundering and breach of trust. In July of this year he was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes in Case 3,000 regarding Israel’s purchase of submarines from Germany.

Netanyahu described Ben Shabat as “possessing a wealth of practical experience in defending the security of the State of Israel.”

Ben Shabat. 51, is married with four children and holds a degree in Political Science from Bar Ilan University and is a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s graduate program for directors. He joined the Shin Bet in 1989 after his military service in the Givati Brigade. Ben Shabat worked his way up the ranks in the Shin Bet, gaining expertise in Hamas and the Gaza Strip. He headed the Shin Bet’s operations in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 Gaza war.

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