Yuval Diskin

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Yuval Diskin
Yuval Diskin .jpg
Allegiance Israel Flag of Israel.svg
Service Shabak
Active 1978- 2011
Rank Director-General

Born June 11, 1956
Nationality Israeli
Occupation Intelligence officer

Yuval Diskin (Hebrew: יובל דיסקין‎) (born 1956[1]) was the 12th Director of the Israeli Internal Security Service Shabak (frequently referred to in English as the "Shin Bet") between 2005 and 2011. He was first appointed to the position by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and later served under subsequent Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Binyamin Netanyahu.

Background[edit]

Early Life[edit]

Diskin was born in Givatayim. In 1974 he joined the Israel Defense Forces, and served as deputy company commander of Sayeret Shaked (the command Sayeret of the Israeli Southern Command).

Career in the Shabak[edit]

In 1978, following his mandatory military service, Diskin joined the Shabak and in the following years served in several operational positions in the Nablus district in the Judea and Samaria region, and in Beirut and Sidon during the 1982 Lebanon War. In 1984 he was appointed head of operations in the Nablus district and by 1989, the Jenin and Tulkarm districts, also in the northern Judea and Samaria area. During this time he was in charge of gathering and analyzing intelligence on the activities of terrorist groups in the area, and performing operations based on this intelligence.

In 1990, he was appointed head of department in Shabak's Counter Terrorism Division, which was responsible for the collection and analysis of intelligence and carrying out operations based on information received. In 1993 he was entrusted, by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-director general of the Shabak Yaakov Peri, to establish ties with the Palestinian security forces as part of the Oslo Peace Accord.[2] In 1994, he became the overall head of the Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Division and Counter Intelligence Division.

In 1997, Diskin was appointed commander of the Jerusalem District. During his tenure, the Shabak developed sophisticated operating methods, advanced technological and data mining capabilities, and by implementing them was able to debilitate Hamas's military wing in the Judea and Samaria area, which led to a major decline in the number of terrorist and suicide attacks in Israel. From 2000 to 2003, as the Shabak's Deputy Director, he implemented the use of advanced technological methods and operational doctrines. During the time of the Second Intifada, Diskin led the Shabak's activities in the field of counter-terrorism, developing operational capabilities and countermeasures against the suicide attacks, that had cost hundreds of lives. He also developed the doctrine of "Command and Control Operation Centers" (CCOC), in which he established a combined intelligence gathering, analysis and implementation process between the Shabak and different intelligence and security bodies in order to produce more accurate, actionable intelligence.

In 2003, during a study sabbatical, he became special advisor to Mossad Director, Meir Dagan. During this time he established a methodology for the Mossad's new operational tactics.

On May 15, 2005, he was appointed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to replace Avi Dichter as the Director of the Shabak. In 2006, the Shabak's major concerns were suicide attacks, obtaining highly accurate intelligence, and assessing the situation in regards to the elections in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Diskin and the Shabak were among the few people in the Israeli security forces who predicted Hamas winning the elections. Later that year, Diskin warned about the increasing rate of smuggling in the Philadelphi Route, which was under Egyptian control, and stated that in two years the Gaza strip would become a "Lebanon". In accordance, the Shabak focused on improving its technological, operational and intelligence-gathering capabilities at the Egyptian border.

Diskin publicly objected to the prisoner exchange in which Gilad Shalit was released. He iterated that his objection was based on the perception that this sort of exchange encourages the kidnapping of soldiers and civilians, strengthens the terrorist infrastructure in the long term, and weakens Israel's deterrence capabilities.

During his tenure as Director, Diskin led the development of the Shabak's cyber capabilities. These counter-cyberterrorism capabilities are both offensive - preventing terrorist and suicide attacks to the point of their termination in Israel,[3] as well as defensive, as in protecting Israel's essential infrastructure, such as electricity, transport, telecommunications and banking. He also championed a revision in Israel's Counter Cyber Threats Authority, transforming it from a purely regulatory body to an active body, which works toward identifying and preventing cyber attacks.

In 2009, in an unusual act, the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requested Diskin to extend his service, due to his integral and unique role in maintaining the national security of Israel.[4]

On May 15, 2011, Diskin was replaced as Director by his former deputy, Yoram Cohen.

After His Retirement from the Shabak[edit]

In 2011, applying the skills and experience he had acquired during his service in the Shabak, Diskin co-founded, along with the former head of operational technologies department and the former head of IT department in the Shabak, a high-tech cyber security company over which he serves as chairman. The company offers cyber defense against cyber attacks and provides cyber security solutions for major multinational corporations.

Views and opinions[edit]

In January 2013, prior to Israel's parliamentary elections, Diskin harshly criticized the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu. [5]

Diskin, along with former Mossad Director Meir Dagan and former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, have been highly critical of the diplomatic positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition; since his retirement from the Shabak, he has spoken on a number of occasions on his view of the need for diplomatic progress vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority and the wider Arab world.[6]

Personal Life[edit]

Diskin has a bachelor's degree in Israeli Studies and political science from Bar Ilan University, and a master's degree in political science and public administration from the University of Haifa.

In 2012, Diskin was selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for his standout contribution to the intellectual debate of foreign policy.[7]

During the same year, Diskin, along with the other living former directors of the Shabak, was featured in a documentary film, The Gatekeepers in which he discussed some of the main events of his tenure in the Shabak.

Diskin is a fluent speaker of Palestinian Arabic.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]