Yaakov Peri

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Yaakov Peri
חבר הכנסת יעקב פרי.jpg
Ministerial roles
2013–2014Minister of Science, Technology and Space
Faction represented in the Knesset
2013–2018Yesh Atid
Personal details
Born (1944-02-20) 20 February 1944 (age 77)
Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine

Ya'akov Peri (Hebrew: יעקב פרי‎, born 20 February 1944) is a former head of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet and formerly a member of the Knesset for Yesh Atid. He headed Shin Bet between 1988 and 1994. He was the first Shin Bet head born in Israel. After his service with Shin Bet he entered the business world. He became an MK in 2013 and was appointed Minister of Science, Technology and Space, a post he held until resigning on 2 December 2014.[1] He resigned from the Knesset in February 2018.


Peri was born in Tel Aviv during the Mandate era, and grew up in Netanya. He was exempted from service in the Israel Defense Forces due to a systemic heart murmur.[2] Peri attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University, gaining a BA.[3] Peri started his career as an orchestral trumpeter before joining the Shin Bet.

In 1966 he joined Shin Bet, and initially trained to be a field officer working in the Arab sector. In 1972 he was appointed to a senior position in the Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria Command, and in 1975 became head of the Shin Bet's training division. In 1978 he became head of its Northern Command, before returning to the Jerusalem, Judah and Samaria Command to head it in 1981. In 1987 he became Deputy Director of the Shin Bet, before becoming Director the following year.[3]

During his period in charge, he introduced structural changes to address problems that arose during the First Intifada, and address with the new security situation in Israel in the wake of the Oslo Accords. In 1994 he took leave to study at Harvard University, where he finished a short business management course. The following year he retired from Shin Bet.[3] He later went into business, and also taught at Harvard.[4] He was CEO of Cellcom Israel from 1995 until 2003, and in 2012 he featured in a documentary film, The Gatekeepers and discussed the main events of his tenure in the Shin Bet.[4]

He joined the new Yesh Atid party prior to the 2013 Knesset elections. He was elected to the Knesset, after which he was appointed Minister of Science, Technology and Space. He was placed fifth on the party's list for the 2015 elections,[5] and was re-elected as the party won 11 seats.

In February 2018 Peri resigned from the Knesset, after two investigative reports on the Uvda television program by Omri Assenheim exposed the fact that he had never served in the IDF and alleged that he leaked information on a corruption investigation to Aryeh Deri when he was head of Shin Bet.[6][7] Peri denied having leaked information to Deri, but after initially claiming that he had never hidden the fact he did not do military service, he admitted to lying for decades about having done military service, claiming that he had lied due to the social stigma of not serving at the time.[2] He was replaced by Pnina Tamano-Shata.

After his resignation, Peri was appointed president of the Israeli security and investigation firm, CGI group.[8]

In December 2019, CGI Group was hired to help find the 18th century jewels and diamonds stolen in a heist from the Dresden Green Vault museum in November 2019. The German media called the daring robbery, "the largest robbery of historic jewels in modern Germany.

In January 2020, the Israeli firm received several letters offering to sell them two of the stolen jewelry. The CGI Group says its investigators were offered the items via the dark web.

Peri is a fluent Arabic speaker, having learned it in school and during his Shin Bet service.[9]


  1. ^ Netanyahu: Israel must elect a new, bigger and more stable government The Jerusalem Post, 2 December 2014
  2. ^ a b Staff (12 May 2018). "Ex-Shin Bet head admits to lying about army service". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Yaakov Peri Israeli Security Agency
  4. ^ a b Gabe Fisher, "All the kingmaker's men, and women", Times of Israel, 23 January 2013
  5. ^ Yesh Atid list Central Elections Committee
  6. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (7 February 2018). "Yesh Atid MK Peri steps down amid misconduct allegations". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  7. ^ Lahav Harkov (8 February 2018). "Departing ex-Shin Bet chief lied about military service, report says". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  8. ^ "CGI GROUP". cgi.co.il. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  9. ^ Horovitz, David (3 November 2014). "Israeli minister: We have 'fantastic partners' in Arab world, if only we'd utilize them". Times of Israel. Retrieved 3 November 2014.

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