Yatom, Danny

(1945- )
   Parliamentarian and former head of Israel's foreign intelligence service, Mossad. Yatom was born in Ne-tanya and studied mathematics, physics, and computer science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He joined the army in 1963 and was a commando in the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) elite Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit), where he served together with Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. He held a number of key combat and planning positions in the IDF, including armored corps commander and head of the army planning branch. In 1991, he was appointed as chief of the central command, a position requiring extensive efforts to deal with the intifada. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appointed him as his chief military aide in 1992, but he returned as head of the IDF central command in 1993. Yatom returned to work for Rabin in April 1994 and continued working with Shimon Peres when he succeeded the assassinated Rabin as prime minister.
   Peres appointed Yatom to head the Mossad in 1996, replacing Shabtai Shavit. Yatom resigned in February 1998 following publication of the report of the Ciechanover Commission's investigation of the Mashaal Affair, the botched September 1997 Mossad attempted assassination of senior Hamas official Khaled Mashaal in Amman, Jordan. The commission had noted that Yatom "had erred in his handling of the operation." In his letter of resignation to Netanyahu, Yatom wrote: "I do not accept the findings of the Ciechanover Commission report regarding faults in my performance."
   On 30 May 1999, Yatom was appointed by Prime Minister Elect Barak to a new position, head of the political security branch of the prime minister's office (PMO); his responsibilities included advising the prime minister on security matters and acting as liaison between the PMO and the various branches of the country's intelligence and security community. (Ironically, the creation of such a position was one of the principal recommendations of the Ciechanover Commission.) Yatom was first elected to the 16th Knesset on the One Israel list in 2003. He was reelected to the 17th Knesset on the Israel Labor Party list in March 2006.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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