Avi Dichter (אבי דיכטר) is the Chairman of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel.
He is a former Israeli Minister of Public Security, Minister of Home Front Defense, and former director of the Israel Security Agency (also known as the Shin Bet). He was a member of the Knesset from 2006-2012 for the Kadima Party, but then joined Prime Minister Netanyahu’s inner security cabinet until the elections of 2013.
Born in 1952 in Israel to parents who survived the Holocaust, Mr. Dicter served in the Israel Defense Forces most elite commando unit (known as Sayeret Matkal), and then (in 1974) joined the Israel Security Agency (ISA).
He advanced up the ranks from air marshal to director of the agency. He held the latter position from 2000-2005, a period of significant Palestinian terrorist activity against Israel (known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada or Second Intifada).
Mr. Dichter is credited with restructuring the ISA to effectively deal with this challenge, leading to a dramatic reduction in the number of terrorist attacks and to a restoration of public morale and safety. During this period, Mr. Dichter also planned the West Bank security barrier with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
In the ISA, he served as director of the Southern District (Gaza Strip), as director of the Security and Protection Division (a position he took on immediately after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin), as deputy director of the agency, and as director (appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak).
As Minister of Public Security, Mr. Dichter built Israel’s Witness Protection Program, and formed a national crime fighting unit similar to the FBI. He also led and signed cooperation agreements with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety, and with countries in the E.U. In addition he has been a research fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. Today, Mr. Dichter is the volunteer Chairman of the Foundation for the Benefit of the Holocaust Victims in Israel.
Mr. Dicter holds a BA in Social Sciences from Bar-Ilan University, and an Executive MBA from Tel Aviv University.
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