Israeli Gov’t Names Next Police Chief, Top Spy
Israel’s government on Tuesday announced the scheduled filling of two major security positions – police commissioner and head of the nation’s intelligence agency known as the Mossad. Thanks to endless rounds of elections and political jousting, the job of Israel’s police chief has remained vacant for over two years and the appointment of Border Police Commander Maj. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai, a lesser-known candidate from the second tier of the organization’s command, raised many an eyebrow. The outgoing acting commissioner, apparently miffed at not being permanently appointed himself, lashed out at Public Security Minister Amir Ohana after Tuesday’s announcement, claiming the minister had in recent months exerted pressure on the police’s brass for political reasons and was looking to appoint a loyalist. The tabbing of the still anonymous Mossad deputy chief to be the organization’s head came as an even bigger surprise, due to the fact it comes more than six months before current chief Yossi Cohen’s scheduled departure. The early announcement sparked speculation that Cohen, known to be a close ally of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, may be plotting an early entry into the political system. Netanyahu has in the past said he saw Cohen as his natural successor in the premiership.
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