JERUSALEM (Mar. 27)
The Cabinet on Sunday approved the appointment of a new director for the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal secret service agency. His identity, by law, is not disclosed to the public.
In another development at the meeting, the resignation of Amiram Nir, the prime minister’s adviser on terrorism, was announced. He is leaving his post voluntarily after nearly four years of service.
Originally appointed by Shimon Peres when he was prime minister, Nir’s name was closely linked to Lt. Col. Oliver North, a member of President Reagan’s national security staff, in connection with the Iran-contra arms sales scandal in 1986.
Premier Yitzhak Shamir said Nir’s deputy would take over his duties, pending the appointment of a new adviser.
The new Shin Bet chief will take office April 1, replacing Yosef Harmelin, who was called out of retirement in September 1986 after the director at the time, Avraham Shalom, and other senior operatives were forced to resign under the cloud of scandal.
He retook the reins of the Shin Bet following allegations that Shalom and his subordinates attempted to cover up the murder of two Palestinian bus-hijackers who were turned over to Shin Bet agents after Israel Defense Force soldiers captured them alive.