Meir Dagan
מאיר דגן
Director of the Mossad
In office
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ehud Olmert
Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Efraim Halevy
Succeeded by Tamir Pardo
Personal details
Born Meir Hubermann
(1945-01-30) 30 January 1945 (age 76)
Military service
Allegiance Template:Flag icon Israel
Service/branch Israeli Defense Forces
Years of service 1963–1996
Rank Aluf
Battles/wars Six Day War
Yom Kippur War
1982 Lebanon War
Awards Medal of Courage

Aluf Meir Dagan (Template:Lang-he; born 30 January 1945) is a former Israel Defense Forces officer and former Director of the Mossad.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Meir Huberman (later Dagan) was born to parents from Novosibirsk on a train in 1945, while they were being deported to a Nazi concentration camp in Poland. His maternal grandfather, Ber Erlich Sloshny, was murdered in the Holocaust. In 2009, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published two photos of Nazi soldiers standing next to a kneeling Sloshny shortly before they shot him. During his term as Director-General of the Mossad, Dagan kept one of the photographs hanging in his office.[2] Meir and his parents survived the Holocaust, and in 1950, the family made aliyah to Israel and settled in Bat Yam. During the ship's approach to Israel, it encountered a storm, during which Meir stood on the stern, praying to reach the shore safely.[3]

Dagan is a vegetarian and an amateur painter, who studied painting and sculpture at the Tel Aviv University.[4]

Military and intelligence career[edit | edit source]

File:Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - IDF Chief of Staff Honors Outgoing Mossad Director, Jan 2011.jpg

IDF chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi honoring outgoing Mossad director, Meir Dagan

During the 1967 Six-Day War, Dagan served as an officer in the Paratroopers Brigade. In the early 1970s, he commanded an ad hoc undercover commando unit, known as Sayeret Rimon, whose task was to combat the increasing violence in the Palestinian territories.[5] He received a Medal of Courage for disarming a terrorist in 1971. Dagan later fought in the Yom Kippur War. During the 1982 Lebanon War, he commanded an armored brigade.[3]

Dagan later served as a counterterrorism adviser to the Israeli government, and he initially served as a National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Sharon appointed him Director-General of Mossad in August 2002, replacing outgoing Director Ephraim Halevy. As Mossad director, Dagan was allegedly aggressive in ordering killings of terrorists. According to British writer Gordon Thomas, he sanctioned the use of proscribed nerve toxins, dumdum bullets, and other methods of killing rarely used even by the mafia, the former KGB, or Chinese intelligence.[6] According to Mossad veteran Gad Shimron, "Israel is in the paradoxical situation of not having a death penalty but allowing itself to target Arab terrorists outside its borders with almost complete impunity. Meir Dagan fully subscribes to this thinking, unlike some of his predecessors. By November 2004, at least four Arab terrorists had already been killed in suspected Mossad operations, and three major terrorist attacks planned against Israeli targets abroad had been foiled.[3]

Ehud Yatom, a member of the Knesset Subcommittee on Secret Services, stated that "as someone who is privy to the facts but not at liberty to divulge them, I can say this with complete authority. The Mossad under Meir Dagan has undergone a revolution in terms of organization, intelligence and operations. And he is far from done." Under Dagan's watch, Mossad tripled its recruitment efforts, launching a website where people can apply to join. Reportedly, much of its annual budget of $350 million was diverted from traditional intelligence gathering and analysis to field operations and "special tasks".[3]

Dagan was reconfirmed as Mossad director until the end of 2008 by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in February 2007,[7] and in June 2008, Olmert again extended his tenure until the end of 2009.[8]

In mid-2007, Dagan had a "spat" with the Deputy Director N,[clarification needed] who was thought to be a candidate for replacing Dagan in late 2008. Dagan restored his former deputy T to the post and Dagan was thought likely to recommend T as his replacement.[9]

He was re-appointed in 2009 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to serve until the end of 2010.[10] In June 2010, a report from Channel 2 stated that Netanyahu had denied a request by Dagan for another year as Mossad director,[11] though this was quickly denied by the Prime Minister's Office.[12] In November 2010, Tamir Pardo was announced as his replacement.

Following his departure, Dagan made several controversial public statements concerning the prudence of an Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilties. He called it a "stupid idea."[when?] After Dagan voiced criticism of the prime minister, he was asked to return his diplomatic passport before its expiration date.[13] Dagan repeated the opinion in a March 2012 interview with Leslie Stahl of CBS News' 60 Minutes, calling an Israeli attack of Iran before other options were exhausted "the stupidest idea" and saying he considered the Iranians "a very rational regime."[14]

Business career[edit | edit source]

As of 2011, Dagan serves as the director of the Israel Port Authority.[15] In 2011 he was also appointed chairman of Gulliver Energy Ltd. (TASE:GLVR), which announced that it intends to mine uranium at a license in the Dead Sea area[16] and drill in search of gold near Eilat.[17]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Egypt claims Mossad to blame for shark attacks (& details of new Mossad head) | Tom Gross Media
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3
  4. "Vegetarian, painter ... spy chief". Times. 
  5. Analysis: Another year of Dagan means continuity for Sharon's Iran policy | Jerusalem Post
  6. Thomas, Gordon: Gideon's Spies (1999, 2010 edition)
  7. Pfeffer, Anshel. "Analysis: Another year of Dagan means continuity for Sharon's Iran policy", The Jerusalem Post, 21 February 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
  8. "Citing "exceptional success," Israel's Olmert extends Mossad chief's term". International Herald Tribune. 2008=06-22. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  9. Haaretz, Mossad deputy chief N. quits after spat with boss Dagan
  10. Ravid, Barak (22 June 2009). "Dagan given another year as Mossad chief". Haaretz. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  11. "'Mossad chief Meir Dagan to step down'". Haaretz. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  12. "PM's office: Mossad chief didn’t ask to extend his tenure". Ynetnews. 2010-06-26.,7340,L-3910995,00.html. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  14. "Ex-israeli Spy Chief: Bombing Iran A Stupid Idea". CBS News. 8 March 2012.;lst;1. 
  16. "Gulliver and Zerah in uranium prospecting agreement". Globes. 27 June. Retrieved 21 July 2011. "Gulliver will have the right to mine metals in Zerah's Maya license in the Dead Sea area." 
  17. "In Israel, ex-Mossad chief pans for gold". Bloomberg Businessweek. The Associated Press. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 

Template:Mossad Directors

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