New NSC head: Kippah-wearing senior Shin Bet official

Meir Ben Shabat served past three years as Shin Bet southern region head; conducted dozens of intelligence and preventive operations.

Mordechai Sones ,

Meir Ben Shabat
Meir Ben Shabat
Chaim Buchris

The new head of Israel's National Security Council (NSC), Meir Ben Shabat, served for the past three years as head of the Shin Bet's southern region. He wears a skullcap, identifies as a religious Zionist, served in Givati, and later joined the Shin Bet.

Born in 1966, married, and father of four, Ben Shabat served the past three years as head of the General Security Service's Southern Region, equivalent in rank to a major general.

He holds a BA in Political Science from Bar-Ilan University (cum laude), and graduated the program for directors and senior officers of corporations at Tel Aviv University, and graduated of a wide range of courses in intelligence and senior management.

Ben Shabat joined the General Security Service in January 1989, immediately after completing his regular service in the IDF (84-88 in the Givati Brigade), beginning his career as a regular worker in the southern region of the service. He acquired expertise in Hamas in the Gaza Strip and participated in most of the operations against it in the past two decades, playing an active part in Operation Cast Lead.

Throughout his years in the organization, he performed a wide range of management duties in the operational and headquarter divisions. Among other things, he headed two brigades and served as head of three divisions: the Cyber Division, the National Anti-Terror Espionage, Research, and Policy branch, and in the Southern Region.

He was responsible for the management of hundreds of employees and managers in various capacities and in various areas of expertise. He conducted dozens of intelligence and preventive operations, established extensive external relations, established new units, led structural changes, conducted research and strategic planning, and dealt with shaping policy on a long list of issues.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated Ben Shabat on his appointment, saying "I approve the Prime Minister's appointment of Meir Ben Shabat, a well-trained and experienced man, to head the NSC.

"There is a need for a strong NSC to be a counter-force for national security issues."