JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuchose a former security chief on Tuesday as his new civil defense minister amid heightened public debate over a possible strike onIran.
Avraham Dichter, who has served as internal security minister and head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has said in the past he would prefer Israel not to go it alone in any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Washington has urged Israel to allow more time for diplomacy to rein in Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful. But Israeli officials have said lagging talks by major powers with Iran to reduce its uranium enrichment have given Tehran more time to come closer to developing a nuclear weapon.
Israeli commentators described Dichter, 59, as close to both Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, the two top decision-makers in any future military action against Iran. Dichter was a member of the elite commando unit where they once served.
Confirming the appointment, Netanyahu said Dichter “will now have an important assignment to assist in what he has been involved in all his life, contributing to state security.”
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