Head of Mossad

by Shabtai Shavit
May 2018 – Yedioth (Israel) / Spring 2020 – University of Notre-Dame Press (US)

HEAD OF MOSSAD is a brilliant and much-needed book on intelligence, Israeli history, and global security by Shabtai Shavit, the former director of Israel’s principal secret intelligence service (1989-1996).

Candid and powerfully argued, Shavit’s commentary offers a clear-eyed perspective on current affairs. He rejects the hyperbolic, vitriolic language dominating both American and Israeli government and patiently corrects the historical record. By untangling complex diplomatic relationships and critiquing the politicization of the intelligence community, he provides a detailed picture of the state of the world—how we got here and where we’re going.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in current affairs, the Middle East, counterterrorism, intelligence, pariah states, Iran, North Korea, cyber warfare, and the security of the world. It will further resonate with a general audience interested in the complexities of the State of Israel, Israel’s relationship with America, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism—topics that are increasingly popular at the dinner table and in the news-media.

HEAD OF MOSSAD, already published in Hebrew (in Israel) to great acclaim, is the result of Shabtai Shavit’s 32 years in intelligence. He began his storied career in the Israel Defense Force, where he served in the elite “Sayeret Matcal” unit. After earning a dual degree from Hebrew University in Arabic Language and Literature and History of the Middle East, he was admitted to the Mossad, where he served in Iran and Europe, rising to Deputy Chief of Station. From there he advanced to Head of Department of Ops and then Head of the “Caesarea” Unit. After receiving a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University’s The Kennedy School of Government, he progressed from the Head of the General Staff Division to the Deputy Director of Mossad to the Director of Mossad, a position he held from 1989-1996. During his tenor, he oversaw the end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the nuclear race between Iraq and Iran, and the first Gulf War. Presently, Shavit is the Chairman of the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. He lives in Israel with his wife Yael, and together they have three children and eight grandchildren.