New Shin Bet Chief Takes Office

The new head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, took office Monday. His identity is a state secret.

He replaced Avraham Shalom, who resigned three months ago after he and several top aides were accused of perjury in an attempt to cover up the deaths of two Arab bus hijackers at the hands of security agents in 1984. Shalom and his associates received blanket pardons from President Chaim Herzog although none was ever formally charged with any offense.

Shalom, who ended a paid leave of absence Monday, has been working with his successor for the past two weeks to ensure a smooth transition. While the scandal surrounding Shin Bet has died down, the new chief has to cope with an ongoing controversy surrounding the continued employment of two Shin Bet legal aides directly involved in the alleged perjury.

Their dismissal has been demanded by lawyers working in the State Attorney’s Office who refuse to cooperate professionally with the secret service until the men are fired. If the unofficial boycott continues, accused terrorists may not be brought to justice.

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