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Daily Israel Report

Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan to Head Ports Authority

Israel's former spymaster to be the next chairman of the Israel Ports Development & Assets Authority.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 2/16/2011, 12:01 PM / Last Update: 2/16/2011, 1:03 PM

Flash 90

According to financial publication Globes, Israel's former spymaster, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, is to be appointed chairman of the Israel Ports Development & Assets Company. According to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Dagan will replace Yiftah Ron-Tal, who has been tapped to serve as chairman of the Israel Electric Corporation. Dagan, known for his aggressive and largely successful conduct of Israel's secret affairs, will be responsible for implementing a national transportation plan for Israel.

In the early 1970s, Dagan commanded a temporarily-formed undercover commando unit, known as Sayeret Rimon, whose task was to combat the increasing insurgent Arab violence in Gaza. After serving in the IDF, Dagan became a career intelligence officer, and was appointed Director of the Mossad by Ariel Sharon in August 2002. Under Dagan, the Mossad allegedly assassinated Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January of 2010. Various activities that delayed Iran's nuclear plans, to which Israel did not admit publicly, took place during his term of office.

Both Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Binyamin Netanyahu extended Dagan's term in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Dagan, who was replaced by Tamir Pardo as Mossad Director on January 1, 2011, is a vegetarian and an amateur painter who studied sculpture at Tel Aviv University. Dagan's first meetings as he enters his position with the Port Authority will be talks with seven Israeli cruise and cargo shipping companies over possible martime links, according to Greek newspaper Naftemporiki.

According to Bloomberg, as many as 800,000 Israeli tourists may visit Greece and Cyprus in 2012. The increase is attributed to improved improved Israeli-Greek relations contrasted with poor Israeli-Turkish relations, and political unrest in North Africa.