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Bennett picks Shin Bet deputy chief ‘R’ to succeed Argaman

CM 01/09/2021

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has nominated the Shin Bet’s current deputy chief, known as “R,” to succeed the current director, Nadav Argaman, as the next head of the agency as of October 13.
R beat out the most recent former deputy Shin Bet chief, also known as “R” in the mainly two-way race. 
Prior to June when Benjamin Netanyahu had been prime minister, former senior Shin Bet official and his national security council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat had been the favorite, but Ben-Shabbat was never seriously considered by Bennett due to his closeness to Netanyahu and objections to his candidacy from within portions of the Shin Bet.

R is 55, married, and has three children.
He had a university degree in political science and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a master’s degree in public management from Harvard University.
R served in the IDF as part of the elite Sayeret Matkal Reconnaissance Special Forces unit.
Bennett served in the same unit during his IDF service, though he is younger than R.
In 2011, R was appointed head of the Shin Bet’s operations.
Then in 2016, he was promoted to be the head of Shin Bet headquarters, the number three post responsible for force buildup.
In 2018, he replaced prior R as deputy chief of the agency.
R’s units have been given numerous security awards over the years.
NADAV ARGAMAN: Coming to the end of a successful term. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)NADAV ARGAMAN: Coming to the end of a successful term. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Bennett said that “R is a daring fighter and an excellent commander. I have no doubt that he will lead the agency to new highs of excellence for the sake of Israel’s security.”
R’s identity will only be made public after he passes additional stages of vetting and approvals, but the prime minister’s choice for the Shin Bet nearly always goes forward.
Those who supported either of the two deputy chief Rs all along have noted that almost all recent Shin Bet chiefs served as deputy chiefs beforehand.
In comparing the two R’s, some sources said the prior deputy chief R has a bigger world view when it comes to technology, collection, and analysis of intelligence issues.
Some also point out that prior deputy chief R was involved in major defense situations during the 2014 Gaza war, which current R has not quite had to match and which was more substantial than even the 2008-2009 Gaza war, which Ben-Shabbat helped manage.
In addition, some say that prior R is more beloved, inspires more social cohesion among the rank and file than current R, and could be a compromise candidate between Netanyahu and the current Shin Bet leadership.
But prior R may have burned some bridges with an interview that he gave to Channel 12’s Uvda following the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. He claimed the agency had warned the IDF and Netanyahu that Hamas was ready to fight, but was ignored.
This won him some enemies – including some who hold him responsible for failing to sound the alarm about Hamas loud enough – and may have hurt him with Netanyahu.
Also, some say that current R may be more charismatic and more of a stand-out talent in operations than prior R.
Further, they say that current R has filled in some of his inexperience with Shin Bet branches beyond the operations side by serving consecutively in the agency’s number two and number three roles. Both of these roles require wide exposure to all Shin Bet branches.
Still, critics say he lacks Ben-Shabbat’s strategic acumen.
Some believed Argaman would press for the current R to succeed him since he was his handpicked deputy and both of them come from deep experience in operations.
In the end, the current R prevailed.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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