Netanyahu Sets Up U.S. Style National Security Council: Pulls Decisions under His Hand
Sieff, Martin, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday launched the most far-reaching reorganization of foreign and defense decision-making machinery in the country's history with the creation of an American-style National Security Council.
David Ivry, a former director-general of the Defense Ministry and air force commander, was appointed the council's first chief.
The new body "is intended to give the prime minister additional sources of information and analysis to those coming from the Foreign and Defense ministries," said Shoshanna Bryen, director of special projects at the Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
The American-educated Mr. Netanyahu, Israel's youngest prime minister at 46, won Cabinet approval to set up his National Security Council (NSC) on the U.S. model.
Israeli political sources said he wanted to institutionalize security and foreign-policy decision-making in the prime minister's office.
By doing so, they said, it would prevent the Foreign Ministry - which Mr. Netanyahu has long distrusted as being a stronghold for extreme peace policies - and the Defense Ministry from developing their own independent agendas and forcing them on the prime minister.
Mr. Ivry's appointment appeared to confirm indications that Mr. Netanyahu would try to follow a centrist line on foreign and defense affairs. Mr. Ivry was one of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's closest advisers.
The legislation to set up an NSC was passed several years ago, but Mr. Rabin, prime minister from 1992 until his assassination in November, opposed it, preferring to personally hold the defense portfolio himself.
Israeli analysts welcomed the move as taking strategic burdens off Mr. …