A First: Woman Appointed Head of Mossad HR

June 8, 2015  

Women are advancing in the ranks of the Mossad, Israel Hayom reports Monday, after Mossad chief Tamir Pardo appointed a woman to head the Human Resources Division. 

The woman, named only as Y, has served in the Mossad for many years and fulfilled several roles, including Department Head and Deputy Division Head before being promoted to her current position. After the promotion, Y. will be responsible for the entire Mossad staff. 

Y. is not the first female division head in the Mossad. The newspaper notes that the intelligence organization is the most pluralistic of Israel’s security forces, in terms of women’s advancement: women serve in command positions in all operational departments and functions, and some women have even reached the top echelons. Three women have headed divisions in the past, and one of them, Aliza Magen, was Mossad’s Deputy Commander.

Against this background, however, the Mossad faced internal turmoil earlier this year, when Sima Shine, former Head of Research Division in the Mossadwas chosen to light a beacon in the official Independence Day ceremony, and honored as a “trailblazer”.

Dozens of women who served in the Mossad united in opposition to the decision to award Shine with the honor. The women – sixty in number, according to some reports – wrote an angry letter to Culture Minister Limor Livnat, in which they disputed that Shine is “the woman who served in the most senior position in Israel’s espionage establishment.”

They claimed that other women held more senior roles than Shine, including former Deputy Commander Aliza Magen.

Women rarely achieve prominent positions in Israeli intelligence and security organizations, Israel Hayom noted, citing such rarities as IDF Manpower Division director Gen. Orna Barbivai and a former Head of Training Department in the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), named only as “N.”

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