Avi Dichter

Avi Dichter


Date of birth = Birth date and age|1952|12|4|df=y
Year of Aliyah =
Date of death =
Knesset(s) = 17th (current)
Party = Kadima
Former parties =
Gov't roles = Minister of Internal Security

Avi Dichter (born December 4, 1952) is an Israeli politician, currently Israel's Minister of Public Security and a member of Knesset from the Kadima party. His parents were Holocaust survivors.

As an adolescent, he joined Hashomer Hatzair, the oldest Zionist youth movement still functioning. After graduating high school in Ashkelon (where he met his wife), Dichter was selected to serve in the elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces, Sayeret Matkal, under then Commander Ehud Barak. Upon completing his military service, Dichter joined Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, in 1974 where he advanced to eventually become its Director in 2000.

He began his career in Shin Bet as a sky marshal for El Al. After becoming proficient in Arabic and completing field intelligence courses, he began working in the Shin Bet’s Southern District—specifically in the Gaza Strip. In 1992, he was appointed as Director for the region. The targeted assassination of Hamas operative Yahya Ayyash—known as “The Engineer”—took place under Dichter's leadership. The assassination of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 shed light on Shin Bet's shortcomings. Aiming to improve the Shin Bet's protection capabilities, Dichter was appointed Director of the Security and Protection Division. In 1999, he became Deputy Director of Shin Bet. One year later, Prime Minister Ehud Barak promoted Dichter to Director.

During his tenure as Director, the Palestinians launched one of their most deadly campaigns, the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Under Dichter’s leadership, Shin Bet changed its modus operandi and restructured its mission and duties to serve at the forefront of Israel’s security and counter-terrorism efforts. The organization spearheaded counter-insurgency and intelligence operations deep inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In doing so, the Shin Bet is credited with drastically reducing the number of attacks perpetrated against Israel during this time as well as helping to restore safety and positive morale to the public. Another one of Dichter’s successful initiatives included envisioning and planning with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the controversial West Bank security barrier.

In September 2005, Dichter left office and became a research fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. Several months later, he returned to Israel and announced his foray into politics with the newly-established Kadima party. On 4 May 2006 Dichter was sworn in as the Minister of Public Security. In this role, he oversees Israel’s law enforcement system including Israel's Police Force and Prison Service.

As Minister of Public Security, Avi Dichter is leading massive reform in the fields under the auspices of the ministry. These include budgetary and organizational reform, the building of a Witness Protection Program, and the formation of a national crime fighting unit (Lahav 433) similar to the United States' FBI.

In the international arena, Dichter believes that it is essential to build a network of nations dedicated to counter-terrorism and crime-fighting to confront the emerging network of international terror and crime. In this capacity Minister Dichter has led the warming of professional relations with many partners across the globe including the signing of cooperation agreements with the US Department of Homeland Security as well as with other counterparts from Canada and countries in the European Union.

Dichter holds a BA in Social Sciences from Bar Ilan University (’86) and an Executive MBA from Tel Aviv University (’99). He speaks Hebrew, English and Arabic. He and his wife Ilana reside in Ashkelon, where they both grew up. They have three children.



External links

* [http://www.mops.gov.il/BPEng/About+MOPS/TheMinister/ Avi Dichter on the Ministry of Public Security Website (In English)]
* [http://imeu.net/news/article0014271.shtml Avi Dichter Profile at www.imeu.net]

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