Tamir Pardo. 'Salt of the earth'
Photo: Channel 10
Outgoing Mossad Chief Meir Dagan
Photo: Yaron Brener
Photo: inss website
Gabi Siboni consulted with Pardo over Galant document
Photo: inss website

New Mossad chief 'brave and determined'

After many years, insider set to head Israeli secret service. Those who know Tamir Pardo describe a 'clever, balanced and intelligent' man. Former Mossad chief Halevy praises his protégé as 'a fitting and worthy person for the job'

Israelis have become used to hearing stories about Mossad Chief Meir Dagan who as a soldier disguised as an Arab pursued a terrorist with a knife held between his teeth.


Eight years after he was selected by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Dagan Era in the Mossad came to an end on Monday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the appointment of Tamir Pardo, 57, as the next head of Mossad.


Unlike Dagan, Pardo rose through Mossad ranks. A person who knows him well is former Head of Mossad, Efraim Halevy who told Ynet that "this is an excellent appointment. He is a fitting and worthy person for the job". Another acquaintance of Pardo's is Major-General (res.) Uzi Dayan who said that the next Mossad chief was "clever, prudent and intelligent."


Halevy, who as head of the Mossad, promoted Pardo, didn't stint in praising his protégé. "I have known Tamir for more than a few years, I knew him from previous roles I held, and when I was appointed head of Mossad I thought it right to promote him to head of one of the leading operational units within the Mossad."


He explained that for years Pardo commanded the unit "exceptionally and without fault. While proving his leadership skills, ability to make tough decisions he was well liked by his subordinates. He was and remains extremely trustworthy. His reports were always reliable all the while remaining calm under pressure and balanced."


Halevy also admitted that after he left the Mossad he continued to follow Pardo's career. "When the decision to appoint him as deputy head of the Mossad was made, I saw it as a positive move. I have no doubt that the role prepared and qualified him for this day, for which we should congratulate the prime minister for this particularly welcome and well deserved appointment."

Pardo (L) and Dayan. 'Ability to lead assignments' (Photo: Channel 10)


A year ago, Pardo left the Mossad in anger after Dagan refused to recommend him as his successor. Halevy said that Pardo was very keen on reaching the number one spot in the organization. "Tamir was always very determined to reach his goals and he always had a great deal of resolve, but it always came together with consideration and the ability to judge even the most extraordinary situations."


Halevy praised the appointment that came from within the Mossad ranks. "It's a very positive and important move. Every man that serves the organization needs to know that if he shows the correct abilities he can make it to the top. Like any soldier in the IDF who looks at the chief of staff, and like any man who considers becoming the head of the Shin Bet."


'An Insider has advantages'

Pardo's name is also connected to the "Galant document" scandal. Pardo is a good friend of Colonel (res.) Gabi Siboni, who leaked the document to the media. It is a known fact that Siboni consulted with Pardo before passing the fake document on to the media. Pardo was chosen in spite of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's preference for Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin as next head of Mossad.


Sources within the defense establishment say that Pardo is "a very honest man, very 'square'". He is seen as one of the bravest men in the Mossad who has taken part in many daring ops and commanded a number of operational squads. "He is the salt of the earth," they say.


Major General (res.) Uzi Dayan, former head of National Security Council, told Ynet that there was an advantage to an inside man.


According to Dayan, the Mossad's most urgent assignments are preventing Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities and creating a "quiet pact with countries and leaders who are on the good side, the side with a common enemy". He noted that "Tamir has the ability to lead these assignments."


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report


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פרסום ראשון: 11.30.10, 11:33
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