Shin Bet service
In 1982, after finishing his compulsory service in the IDF, he started working at Shin Bet; his first post was security officer for the field coordinators. After studying an Arabic course and having been sent to the Shin Bet field coordinators course, he became, in 1983, field coordinator of Binyamin Region, and in 1989 the field coordinator of Ramallah Region.
In 1991 he was appointed head of the Operative Desk in Yehuda Region, and in 1996 he was appointed head of the Terror Prevention Division in Yehuda Region. Between 1999-2001 he served as head of the Arab-Iranian Terror Prevention Division. In 2003 he was appointed head of the Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria Area.
In 2005 he was elected deputy to Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, and engaged in policy-building and organizational decisions. In 2008 he was a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy[clarification needed] in Washington, DC. Upon his return to Israel in 2010, he was responsible for formulating the concept of service management in the coming decade. On 15 May 2011 Cohen became the twelfth Director of Shin Bet, replacing Diskin.
Cohen was born to parents who came to Israel from Afghanistan. He comes from a religious family and wears a kippah (skullcap). Cohen is married and has five children, and has lived in Jerusalem since 1983.