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Israel women break the glass ceiling in top intelligence agency

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By Gil Tanenbaum, TPS

Israel’s national intelligence agency announced on Thursday that in a historic first, there are now two women serving in the organization in senior positions.

The announcement came with the appointment of the first woman ever to serve as director of the Intelligence Authority of the Mossad.

As is always the case with such sensitive posts related to Israel’s national security, the women’s names have not been revealed; the director of the Intelligence Authority is referred to as “A,” She has served at the heart of its intelligence operations for approximately 20 years, the Mossad said.

“A” now joins “K,” who serves as head of the Iran Desk, the chief concern of the organization.

The director of the Intelligence Authority is responsible for formulating the national strategic intelligence picture on a variety of issues, including the Iranian nuclear program, global terrorism and normalization with the Arab world. She is also responsible for intelligence regarding all Mossad operations and manages hundreds of employees in the collection, research and analysis of intelligence.

The Mossad stated that it is without precedent that intelligence in the Mossad is currently managed by two women, “A” and her deputy, who is known as “H.”

The representation of women as branch heads, which the Mossad equates this level of authority with a brigadier-general in the IDF, has grown in recent years.

“A” received the Israel Security Prize at a ceremony held approximately two months ago. At the time, she said, “I will utilize this distinguished platform to call on women to realize their potential and influence in the security establishment and the combat or technological units in particular, in order to continue making their mark.”

The head of the Iran Desk is responsible for Mossad strategy in dealing with all aspects of the Iranian threat and for leading the integration of operations, technology and intelligence in the organization together with the IDF and all of the security services.

“K” is also an intelligence veteran who serves in one of the organization’s most senior, significant and influential positions.

Until this announcement, the most senior Mossad position held by a women was about 30 years ago, when Aliza Magen served as deputy director of the organization. Since then, several women have been appointed to senior positions as branch heads; never before has a woman held the positions of head of the Iran Desk or head of the Intelligence Authority.

Mossad director David Barnea stated that the organization offers complete equality between men and women.

“Many women serve in all roles in operations, as agents and operators of agents, and are integrated into the core of operations and intelligence, with talent, professionalism and energy,” he said. “The door to advancement to the most senior ranks is open to men and women alike, according to their suitability and their talents.”

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