Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO
Ceremony in Jerusalem to honor Shin Bet intelligence agents who tracked down and caught killers of an IDF soldier

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin both spoke at a ceremony held Monday at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem to honor Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) employees who were involved in capturing the killers of IDF Cpl. Dvir Sorek, z’l.

Both Israeli leaders emphasized the swiftness with which the intelligence agents tracked down and captured the terrorists — within 48 hours — and thanked them for their unending dedication to a task and a job that of necessity brings with it no public recognition at all.

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“As soon as we learned the details, I said with great confidence that it would not take much time until we would lay our hands on the murderer,” Netanyahu said in his remarks to the agents. “This is what you have done in recent years; all murderers, without exception, have been apprehended. In every case in which vicious murderers have cut down innocent Israeli lives, it has not taken much time for us to find them.

“We mapped the terrorists’ homes and will demolish them soon. You work night and day for the well-being of our citizens. In the past year, you thwarted over 600 terrorist attacks. This was a counter-terrorist action of immense scope. We are doing everything to cut off terrorism at its outset.”

Rivlin also gave his personal thanks, saying, “You didn’t rest until you apprehended the killers. Thank you, personally and on behalf of all the citizens of Israel, for the security your work gives us.

For all those who challenge one or other of the ISA’s departments, I say this: take care not to harm the best of our men and women, people who work around the clock to ensure Israel’s security. If you have any criticism, do not direct to them, direct it towards us, on whose behalf they are working.”

Certificates of Distinction were awarded to a total of 15 men and women from the ISA by the prime minister and the president, along with the head of the ISA, Nadav Argaman, who was also present for the ceremony together with the families of the recipients. Among the honorees were:

– I., a director in the field of technological intelligence. She is married and the mother of three. Her work led the branch she heads to adapt the collection and counter-terrorism tools in order to face many challenges and threats. I. has led her branch to significant achievements in the fields of intelligence and counter-terrorism for dealing with terrorist threats, particularly ‘lone wolf’ and Islamic State activists, by using a wide range of tools and capabilities in the worlds of technological intelligence and cyber.

– E., a branch head in the operations division. He is married and the father of four. E. is responsible for managing covert operations in the various arenas in which the service operates. E. has led combat teams in a variety of complex missions, demonstrating creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and exceptional courage. The operations he commanded yielded a great deal of highly valuable material which facilitated the infiltration of terrorist organizations and prevented them from attacking Israeli citizens.

– A., a field coordinator. He is married and the father of three. A. is considered one of the outstanding coordinators in the field. Of his outstanding accomplishments in 2018, he was responsible for significant and high-quality intelligence received from sources he handles as part of his role. The information obtained enabled the ISA to pre-empt planned terrorist attacks.

– G., head of a development team in the IT division. G. is married and the father of two. G. leads complex and wide-ranging projects, including being responsible for developing a critical piece of technology infrastructure. G. led a ground-breaking process that incorporated technological developments in information security while streamlining and improving existing platforms, including developing unique automation capabilities.

– A., an information-mining expert. He is married and the father of two. A. has developed a number of unique methods for mining information. Over the past year, he was part of a large, complex and long-term intelligence operation that received the Prime Minister’s Prize for achievements in the intelligence-operational field.

– T., a director in the field of cyber and technological intelligence. He is married and the father of one. T. is responsible for covert counter-terrorism against attempts by states and foreign powers to attack the Israeli cyber space. T. has led numerous covert operations against cyber-terrorism attacks.

“Excellence is not an action, it is a habit,” noted Argaman. “The pursuit of excellence reflects the strength of our will, our commitment, and how deeply our people are invested. When we do this every day, steadily and with determination, there are also moments of glory. We achieve exceptional results. There is no other way. This is our way of life.

“You, the outstanding employees of the ISA, express the values and vision on which our organization is based. You are the ones who turn concepts like excellence, commitment and value into a daily way of life. You are the ones who turn ideas and initiatives, operations and programs, leading people with you, into creative and precise work, all within a very complex reality. It is a reality in which to win we must be at least one step ahead of our enemies. You are the ones who allow us to do this. Thank you for your contribution to Israel’s security; Thank you for all you are.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.