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Danny Yatom

(1945 - )


Major General (reserves) Danny Yatom was the eighth Director of the Mossad, and served from 1996–1998.

He was born in Netanya in 1945. He is a graduate of Hebrew University in mathematics, physics, and computer science. He is married with five children.

Yatom enlisted in the IDF in 1963. He received the distinguished service medal at the rank of First Lieutenant. He served in many positions during his military service, including deputy commander of Sayeret Matkal and, in May 1972, he took part in rescuing the hostages from the hijacked SABENA plane en route to Tel Aviv from Brussels via Vienna.

He transferred to the armored corps, and served as a deputy battalion commander on the southern front in the Yom Kippur War. He also served as the armored corps’ operations officer. In 1982, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, and appointed head of the research and development department. He later served as the military secretary of Defense Ministers Moshe Arens and Yitzhak Rabin. In 1985–1986, he served as commander of the Steel Formation (162nd Division). In 1987, he became a major general, and served as head of the General Staff’s planning division. In 1991–1993, Yatom served as General of the Central Command and, in 1993–1996, he served as the military secretary of Prime Ministers and Defense Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

In 1996, after the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, Prime Minister Shimon Peres appointed Danny Yatom Director of the Mossad. Danny Yatom was the first Mossad Director whose name was exposed to the public. In 1998, following two operational mishaps, he decided to resign.

From 1999, he served as Prime Minister Ehud Barak‘s security and political chief of staff. He was later chairman of Koor Metals’ board of directors.

He was elected to the Knesset twice, in 2003 and 2007, representing the Labor party, and served on a number of Knesset committees. He resigned from the Knesset in 2008, and is now a businessman.

Sources: The Mossad;