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Israel: Intelligence Services
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Intelligence Services


Many observers regarded Israel's intelligence community as among the most professional and effective in the world and as a leading factor in Israel's success in the conflict with the Arab states. Its missions encompassed not only the main task of ascertaining plans and strengths of the Arab military forces opposing Israel but also the work of combating Arab terrorism abroad, collecting sensitive technical data, and conducting political liaison and propaganda operations.

The intelligence community had four separate components, each with distinct objectives. The Central Institute for Intelligence and Special Missions (Mossad Merkazi Le Modiin Uletafkidim Meyuhadim -- commonly known as Mossad) had a mission analogous to that of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, being responsible for intelligence gathering and operations in foreign countries. The General Security Service (Sherut Bitahon Kelali -- commonly known as Shin Bet or Shabak) controlled internal security and, after 1967, intelligence within the occupied territories. The prime minister supervised Mossad and Shin Bet. Military intelligence, the Intelligence Branch of the general staff (Agaf Modiin -- known as Aman), had responsibility for collection of military, geographic, and economic intelligence, particularly within the Arab world and along Israel's borders. Military intelligence was under the jurisdiction of the minister of defense, acting through the chief of staff. The Center for Research and Strategic Planning, formerly the Research Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prepared analyses for government policy makers based on raw intelligence as well as longer analytical papers.

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Israel was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 194 of 206


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