Netanyahu with Yossi Cohen and his successor, David Barnea
Netanyahu with Yossi Cohen and his successor, David Barnea Kobi Gideon/GPO

A farewell event was held on Monday evening for the outgoing head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

Also present were former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ministers, past and present heads of security organizations, other senior officials and Mossad commanders.

Netanyahu said at the event, "When I appointed you head of the National Security Council, I saw your commitment, and it is completely real. A deep commitment to Israel's security. Both in the head and in the heart. Because of this commitment, I trusted you again five and a half years ago when I appointed you head of the Mossad. Tonight I can say without a doubt - you justified this trust 100%. You were one of the best heads of the Mossad that the State of Israel has had."

"So tonight I say thank you and the State of Israel says thank you for all the important and daring actions that the Mossad has taken under your leadership. Thank you very much Yossi," Netanyahu said.

"The Mossad has, quite rightly, a reputation for being one of the best intelligence and counterterrorism organizations in the world, and I say, from personal knowledge, there is nothing better than it," continued the Prime Minister.

"Some of you, but surely all of you know, when I am asked to approve your actions, I first examine the benefit of the task and then weigh risk vs. reward. I do not automatically approve everything, but I do approve the vast majority, and I can say that I give this approval after I am convinced of the amazing abilities you show me time and time again."

"The choice is always clear: To lead or to be led. In one matter, I challenged you - to constantly initiate and grab the bull by its horns. A bull named 'Iran.'"

"I told you, Yossi, that your top mission is to stop and delay in any way Iran's quest toward a nuclear bomb. I pushed on my part and you pushed on your part."

"I do not want to and I cannot list here everything we do to fight the Ayatollah regime that threatens to destroy us. It's better this evening, too, that most of these things remain in the shadows. Despite this, one must linger on one of the Mossad's most glorious achievements throughout its years: Locating Iran's secret nuclear archive and bringing it to Israel in 2018."

"Iranian leaders constantly deny that they have ever strived for nuclear weapons, this is the huge stockpile of documents and disks brought from the heart of Tehran. This is an amazing operation. This huge stockpile that you brought proves beyond any doubt that the rulers of Iran are lying."

"We have warned above all that because Iran has an unparalleled extremist ideology, this weapon will endanger not only us - it will endanger the entire world. Therefore, we, and first and foremost you in the Mossad, have a responsibility to continue to work constantly to thwart the Iranian nuclear program," said Netanyahu.

"We know how to fight our enemies, as we did recently in Operation Guardian of the Walls and at the same time we are seizing opportunities to achieve peace and normalization with Arab countries: Peace for peace and peace which comes from power."

"Yossi, in this field as well, you and the Mossad have important rights. You helped the State of Israel pave the way to the palaces, and I can also say - to the hearts of the rulers of the region. Long before the exciting signing ceremony in Washington for the 'Abraham Accords', and also after it."

Cohen said during the event, "I look back on my time as head of the Mossad with pride and humility. Together, we have reached significant achievements in the face of all these threats."

"We penetrated the heart of the Iranian enemy. We worked tirelessly to gather and reveal its dark secrets and undermined its self-confidence and arrogance. We brought the Iranian nuclear archive and exposed to the whole world the Iranian military nuclear program, the intent, the preservation of the capabilities of the military nuclear field and the deception and lies of Iran, which it has tried to hide from the world over the years."

Cohen is currently completing more than 40 years of service in the defense establishment. He began his service at the Mosad in 1989, at the age of 22. Cohen climbed the ranks within the organization, and in 2006 was appointed head of the recruitment division.

In 2016, Cohen was appointed head of the Mossad, and led the organization, while adhering to the mission, creativity and bold thinking, to extraordinary operational and intelligence successes.

The Mossad, headed by Cohen, is responsible for many courageous and groundbreaking operations, the success of which has greatly contributed to strengthening the security of the State of Israel.

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