Vetting Panel Approves New Shin Bet Chief

Vetting Panel Approves New Shin Bet Chief

On Friday, a key panel approved the newly designated chief for the Shin Bet security service, even though an anonymous latter accused the candidate of unspecified misconduct. In a statement, the Goldberg Committee said that they had not come across any defect where the qualities of the candidate were concerned, and neither did they have any issue with the process that led to his appointment in the first place. An anonymous letter was presented to the panel and it made two separate claims. However, the specifics could not be shared with the public because of security reasons. Currently, the candidate serves as the deputy chief of the Shin Bet security service. 

For now, he can only be identified by ‘Resh’, which is the first Hebrew letter of his name, and his full name will be disclosed when he enters the office. Senior members of the committee spoke about the allegations that were made in the letter and said that such missives were extremely dangerous. They said that it was necessary to find a solution to this issue. The committee has received a number of letters about ‘Resh’ since 2019. The Shin Bet had already examined the claims that had been made in those previous letters and there wasn’t much evidence available to substantiate them. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was notified by the committee about their decision, which paved the way for the deputy chief to be appointed as the new head. He was named as the next chief of the Shin Bet security service by the premier of the country back in September. On Wednesday, when news about the anonymous letter pertaining to ‘Resh’ had come to light, a statement was issued to the media by the Shin Bet chief nominee. He said that the anonymous letter was just being distributed now, even though it had been penned and sent around three years ago. 

He added that an interested party was behind the letter, who had previously tried to undermine his previous two promotions as well. According to the Shin Bet deputy, the letter is not based on facts and the only purpose is to hurt his appointment. He said that evidence would be provided to the senior appointments committee if required. In order to succeed Nadav Argaman, ‘Resh’ has to be approved by the government cabinet on October 15th for confirmation of his new position. After the committee’s decision on Friday, Argaman said that he believed in Resh’s strong values and honesty and was confident that he would lead the Shin Bet professionally while maintaining the organization’s values and dignified manner.

Argaman had been serving as the chief of the Shin Bet service since 2016. After becoming premier, one of the first acts that Bennett had done was extending Argaman’s tenure through October to provide more time for finding a suitable successor. ‘Resh’ had been part of the Sayeret Matkal unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, the same detachment as that of the premier. He had then become a field agent for the Shin Bet and was made head of the Operations Divisions in 2011, head of resource development department of the service in 2016 and then deputy head in 2018.

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