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Hangebi takes over as Israel’s national security adviser

Top of Hanegbi's agenda: preparing for the visit of his American counterpart Jake Sullivan, to focus on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Eyal Hulata (left) with his successor as head of Israel's National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, January 2023. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Eyal Hulata (left) with his successor as head of Israel's National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, January 2023. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Former Israeli Minister Tzachi Hanegbi stepped into his new role this week as head of the National Security Council, following a transitional phase with his predecessor Eyal Hulata that included an in-depth study of all security and diplomatic issues.

As part of the transition, the two met together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed sensitive issues.

Netanyahu thanked Hulata for his contribution over the years to the security of the state and for serving in the post since August 2021. Hulata dealt with critical national security issues such as advancing strategic relations with the Biden administration, formulating and advancing policy on the Iranian nuclear issue, and promoting and developing the normalization agreements with Arab countries.

Hulata wished Hanegbi success and thanked the National Security Council personnel for their dedication and professionalism, adding that he was sure they would continue their dedicated work in support of the security and diplomatic activity of the prime minister

Netanyahu appointed Hanegbi, a confidante and Likud Party veteran, to the position in December. He has held several ministerial posts throughout his career, including the health, communications and justice portfolios. He also served as chairman of several Knesset panels, including the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Finance Committee.

One of Hanegbi’s first orders of business will be to prepare for the visit, likely next week, of his American counterpart Jake Sullivan, with the Iranian nuclear threat topping the agenda.

Sullivan said on Monday that the topic would be a “substantial topic of conversation” during his upcoming trip.

“We’ll have the opportunity to engage deeply with the new Israeli government on the threat posed by Iran. And I think we share the same fundamental objectives. And we will work through any differences we have on tactics, the same way that we have over the course of the past two years,” Sullivan said.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer arrived in Washington on Monday for high-level meetings with American officials focusing on Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu on Tuesday warned the “terror regime” in Iran not to cross the Jewish state’s “red lines,” in remarks during a visit to the Israel Defense Forces Northern Command.

“The main enemy we are facing is the terror regime in Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon,” the prime minister said. “We are determined to fight Iran’s attempts to develop a nuclear arsenal. We are determined to fight any attempt by Iran to entrench itself on our border with Syria. We are determined to fight all attempts by Hezbollah to show aggression against us from Lebanon.

“And those who need a reminder of our red lines will receive it,” Netanyahu added.

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