In a special ceremony on Sunday, incoming Israel Security Agency (ISA) Chief Yoram Cohen officially took over his position, while his predecessor Yuval Diskin stepped down.

Video courtesy of GPO-Video

In his remarks, Cohen said that his parents had raised him in the tran on values of "faith and tradition, giving to others, and modesty... My father put a special emphasis on reading, saving what little money he had so he could buy me books, in order that 'something will come of you...'"

"The ISA is a national organization that serves all citizens without discriminating between left and right, religious and secular, Arabs and Jews," Cohen said. "The ISA does not oversee population or sectors, but rather acts under its responsibility as defined by the law governing the ISA: prevention of illegal activities designed to harm national security, the democratic regime, or its institutions. The ISA will continue to adhere to its values.”

Cohen spoke of the challenges now facing the State of Israel, notably the jolts in the Middle East that are directly affecting the Palestinian Authority and form potential new threats to Israel. “The ISA will be required to match, relatively quickly, its strategic deployment to the changing regional reality,” he said.

Outgoing Chief Diskin also spoke, thanking the many people with whom he has had the chance to work over the years. He noted some of the difficult events the ISA has had to deal with over his six years as chief, such as the PA elections and the rise of Hamas to power, the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, Hamas overtaking Gaza, and Operation Cast Lead and its aftermath. He noted that during the Second Lebanon War, the ISA was busy protecting the home front from terror attacks and thwarted seven suicide bombings during that time.

“I am completing 33 years in the ISA,” said Diskin. “During these years I learned much about the country, the security system, the ISA, the people, about ethical and moral dilemmas, about commanding, about management and leadership. Soon I am going out on a new path with great satisfaction on the one hand, but due to the nature of such a complex role, also with complex dilemmas and tough questions, with which I will deal later on.”