For the first time ever, two women have been simultaneously appointed to top level positions in the Mossad, one of Israel’s primary intelligence services.
The women will take their places as heads of division. Although women have reached this level in the Mossad before, they had only been appointed one at time until now.
The names and exact titles of the women have not been disclosed for security reasons. However, the division-head rank is the equivalent of major general in the IDF, and appointees sit on the Mossad executive council.
Together with Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security), the Mossad is one of Israel’s key intelligence agencies comprising the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. It deals with covert operations, counter terrorism and intelligence collection.
Among the Mossad’s most notable operations was finding Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960, and bringing him back for trial in Israel. The Mossad also works to bring Jews out of countries where Jewish immigration centers are prohibited. The agency was founded in 1949 by David Ben Gurion, and its director answers to the prime minister.
The Mossad has always been more inclusive of women than other defense agencies, and this trend is continuing under current director, Yossi Cohen. In January the institute announced it was going to focus on bringing in more female than male new recruits.
“This is the 21st century,” former Deputy Mossad Chief Ram Ben Barak explained to the Jerusalem Post. “Until now maybe there were fewer women in key positions as it was harder to balance work with being a mother, but now there are more husbands who are supportive.”
Concerning the appointment of the two women, former Deputy Mossad Chief Naftali Granot told the Post, “I welcome the trend to appoint women to senior positions in the organization and it is also fitting to note that the two women are highly qualified and experienced.”