As is the custom among Israel's leaders on Hanukkah, President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Mossad chief David Barnea came together to light the fifth candle of Hanukkah and award certificates of excellence to 12 Mossad employees. The traditional ceremony took place today at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.
President Herzog commented, "On Hanukkah we say a blessing for G-d's miracles; al Hanissim, which means 'for the miracles.' Your work has made a tremendous contribution to strengthening the security of the State of Israel. The certificates of excellence given to you today are a sign of appreciation on behalf of the Mossad, on behalf of the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel, but your achievements are their own recognition."
"It's no secret that the Mossad has made a global name for itself. I can also tell you from my meetings with world leaders, we have one of the best intelligence organizations in the world. But when everyone is looking, or at least wants to look, at the end results of our own James Bond, we I want to emphasize the dedicated, responsible work, and - also the brilliance - of the entire Mossad. We all here know how much the work done behind the scenes plays a significant role in protecting the citizens of Israel. I know the Mossad knows and appreciates all areas of its activity, but today I want to give all of the Mossad the respect they deserve, in the name of the entire State of Israel.
"To those who will be awarded a certificate of excellence - we trust you. The people of Israel trust you. Continue to banish the darkness and bring us a lot of light. Good job. And Happy Hanukkah," the president said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, "You are the direct descendants of the Maccabees. Then, like today, we had a long commitment to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel. The Mossad makes sure that this time we hold on to this wonderful country forever. Few people can feel such a weight of responsibility as you."
"The Mossad embodies these values, in everything I see - creativity, determination, humility, mental flexibility, quick adaptation to reality, practicality, and always pushing towards the enemy, across an incredible scope of operations. I want to say, on behalf of the Government of Israel and on my own behalf - I completely trust you to carry out the tasks that lie ahead of you. I know you will succeed."
The Outstanding Agents Ceremony, held every year on Hanukkah, has been held for the last 12 years. This year's certificates of excellence were awarded to men and women who worked tirelessly to strengthen the security of the State of Israel.
One of the certificates was awarded to an agent who operated under challenging circumstances and led complex and groundbreaking operations, the results of which will bear fruit for many years to come. Another agent who received a certificate of excellence was able to incorporate everyday capabilities in his work as well, thus becoming a role model and a focus of knowledge. In the past year, he has promoted and led an unprecedented operation, which has built a new capability for the State of Israel and helped to realize the Mossad's responsibilities as a security organization.
An additional certificate of excellence was awarded to an agent from the Foreign Relations Division, who was able to develop a new relationship with a country with which the Mossad had no previous contacts..
A procurement officer won a certificate of excellence for succeeding in recruiting a strategic agent who opened a unique and rare window for core Mossad activities.
Four certificates of excellence were also awarded to Mossad's computer agents, who have worked night and day for the past year, with uncompromising professionalism and enabled the State of Israel to maintain its superiority in strategic cyber operations.
One of them is an expert in the development of cyberattack systems, who has been able to produce solutions to high-level technological challenges quickly, correctly and efficiently, in the face of growing threats.
Another such agent who received an award is an expert in the fields of physics, control and electricity, with unique expertise that makes her a sought-after instructor in her field. Throughout her many years of service at the Mossad, she has been an anchor in the characterization and development of a long line of groundbreaking operations and her tremendous contribution to national security is evident.