Cabinet approves new Shin Bet chief`

Ronen Bar will be the first Shin Bet chief tasked with fighting crime in the Arab sector.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Israel’s cabinet approved the appointment of Ronen Bar as director of the Shin Bet, the country’s domestic security agency, on Monday.

His appointment was nearly derailed at the last moment by two anonymous letters accusing Bar of a misconduct, the nature of which has not been specified to the public. However, a committee tasked with vetting candidates for senior appointments said it found nothing improper after questioning, Bar, outgoing Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman, and others.

The new Shin Bet director will be tested as he deals with a range of threats such as terrorism, espionage and cyber attacks. Bar will also be the first Shin Bet tasked with fighting crime in Arab communities.

The 55-year-old Bar has bachelor degrees in political science and philosophy from Tel Aviv University, as well as a master’s degree in public management from Harvard. Before joining the Shin Bet as a field agent, he served in the IDF’s Sayeret Maktal, an elite reconnaissance unit.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Bar “helped coordinate a massive amount of joint operations between the IDF and the Shin Bet” during the Gaza war in May, earning himself key support from many in the defense establishment, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described Bar as “a daring fighter and an excellent commander. I have no doubt that he will lead the agency to new highs of excellence in the name of Israel’s security.”

“Bar grew from among the agency’s ranks, where he made enormous contributions to the security of the country and its citizens. I’m sure his appointment will raise the Shin Bet to new heights,” the Prime Minister said.

Argaman’s term expired in May. Israel’s caretaker cabinet did not have the authority to appoint a new director so Argaman’s term was extended until a successor was appointed.