Cabinet confirms ex-spy Eyal Hulata is Bennett’s national security adviser

The cabinet confirmed on Monday the appointment of former Mossad officer Eyal Hulata as national security adviser and head of Israel’s National Security Council.

In a statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised Hulata and said he believed the former spy would bring years of diplomatic and technological experience to his job.

“He is a very creative and very experienced person, who understands the challenges of national security, and I am sure he will fulfill his role successfully,” Bennett said in a statement.

Hulata is expected to take office on August 15.

Hulata, 45, served in the Israeli Mossad spy agency for about 23 years, including in senior positions. He was selected as a national security adviser from a long list of candidates, apparently on the recommendation of current Mossad chief David Barnea.

The Times of Israel has learned that as the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers approaches, Hulata believes the deal is lesser evil than no deal at all.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Monday, July 19, 2021 (Pool Photo via AP)

Hulata, who served in the Mossad at the time, made her opinion clear in various internal forums before the deal was signed, according to senior officials involved at the time in Israel’s response to Iran’s nuclear program.

The sources, who requested anonymity, said Hulata believed that Israel should not fervently oppose the United States as it worked to negotiate the 2015 agreement – contrary to the position taken in the United States. era by then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. . Hulata reportedly advised Israel to learn to live with the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In the years leading up to the signing of the JCPOA, Hulata headed the strategic planning department of the Mossad spy agency and its technology unit.

Bennett has publicly declared his opposition to the deal before and after taking office as prime minister, although he has pledged to take a more conciliatory approach in talks with the United States.

Given Hulata’s perspective on the nuclear deal, his appointment to that post could serve as a message to US officials that Bennett is more open to hearing the benefits of Washington’s planned return to the deal.

Hulata will succeed Meir Ben-Shabbat, who announced earlier this month that he would step down from the role.

Tal Schneider contributed to this report.

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