Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Yossi Cohen would be appointed as the next head of the Mossad (subject to approval by the Turkel Committee). Yossi Cohen currently serves as head of the National Security Council and National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister.
Yossi Cohen is 54, married and the father of four; he has a baby granddaughter. He joined the Mossad in 1983 and was placed in an operational unit. Afterwards, he became the commander of operational units. Between 2006-2011, he headed the Mossad’s operational division. Between 2011-2013, he served as Mossad Deputy Director. Since 2013 he has served as head of the National Security Council and National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Citizens of Israel, this evening we are lighting the second candle of Chanukah. Chanukah symbolizes the great victory of our people in ancient times, the victory of light over darkness, in those days at this season.
My first goal as Prime Minister is to strengthen the security of the State of Israel in the face of the major global upheaval being led by dark radical Islam. Radical Islam is led by two forces – by Iran and by Daesh. They are using violent aggression and terrorism in our region, and not just there; they are threatening the Middle East and the entire world.
Radical Islamic terrorism has hit Paris, London, Istanbul, Mali, and California, and it is attacking us as well. Palestinian terrorism is driven by opposition to our very existence, and more and more by religious and mendacious incitement, according to which we purportedly seek to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Against our enemies’ appetite for blood, we fight back. IDF and Israel Police units go anywhere and operate anywhere. My government gives them full freedom of action and full backing. Our forces are stopping terrorists, demolishing murderers’ homes, are on the alert in defense and are taking the initiative in offense. A very great contribution to our security is made by the ISA, which operates tirelessly to foil terrorist attacks.
And now I would like to say a few words about the Mossad. The men and women of the Mossad operate around the clock, throughout the year. They operate with exceptional daring and great imagination, at times at personal risk. They do this in order to ensure the security of Israel in the face of terrorist threats, the Iranian threat and additional threats.
The Mossad is an operational agency. It is also an intelligence agency. It is also an agency that frequently paves the way to diplomatic relations, especially with countries with which we do not have official ties. In appointing the next head of the Mossad, I took into account these three components. The operational side: The Mossad will continue to build up our strength and foil threats to the security of the state and it will do so through actions and operations that are best left unspoken about. The intelligence side: The Mossad must adapt its capabilities to the age of cyber and advanced technologies. It must continue to be among the best intelligence agencies in the world.
Whether on the operational or the intelligence side, the Mossad will continue to assist me, as Prime Minister, to develop diplomatic links around the world, including with Arab and Islamic states. These ties found expression last week in Paris where I met with many leaders. They very much appreciate the State of Israel for standing steadfast in the face of radical Islamic elements and for waging a determined struggle against terrorism. The head of the Mossad must have the ability to lead the organization with daring, wisdom and professionalism.
The choice among the candidates to head the Mossad was difficult. On this score we are blessed with the problems of the wealthy. The three people whose candidacies I considered were excellent, talented, experienced and capable. I considered things with responsibility and due seriousness and in the end I decided that the next head of the Mossad will be Yossi Cohen.
Yossi has served as head of the National Security Council in recent year. He has a wealth of experience and achievements, as well as proven abilities in the various aspects of Mossad activity. He has leadership skills and a professional understanding, which are both necessary for one who is to lead the organization.
I would like to thank Tamir Pardo for his commendable work as head of the Mossad; I will yet have much to add on this score. I would like to thank the other two excellent candidates who contended for the position: N, whose identity is still classified and who works in the Mossad and does great work there, and Rami Ben-Barak, who is the director general of the Intelligence Ministry. The merits of both men are considerable and the people of Israel owe them much. I am certain that they will continue to faithfully serve the State of Israel, each one in his own way. I thank them and wish the chosen head of the Mossad much success.
A happy Chanukah to you all."