Shabtai Shavit

Chairman of the Advisory Board HESEG Foundation

Shabtai Shavit is Chair of HESEG advisory board. He is a director in the Merhav Group of Companies, and VP of EMG Israel, Chairman of “Athena GS3” Security Implementations Ltd, advisor to the Knesset Subcommittee for Intelligence and former director of the Israeli Mossad.

HESEG Foundation provides full academic scholarships and living expenses to lone soldiers, who have come to Israel to volunteer in the IDF and minority groups such as Ethiopian and Druse students. HESEG (which means “achievement” in Hebrew), was established by Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman of Canada as a way to recognize successful applicants by providing them with an opportunity to start a life in Israel through education and career development.

Shabtai Shavit was the seventh director of the Mossad, and served from 1989-1996. He was born in pre-State Israel in 1939, and grew up in Nesher. His father was a school principal and his mother taught nursery school. He is married with three children.

Mr. Shavit is a graduate of Hebrew Reali School. In the army, he served in the IDF's Sayeret Matkal (Special Forces unit) immediately following its establishment. He earned a BA in Middle East studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an MA in public administration from Harvard.

Shavit joined the Mossad in 1964. He served in operational and senior command positions in Israel and abroad. He also served as second-in-command to Mossad Director Nahum Admoni from 1986 to 1989. He was appointed Director of the Mossad in 1989. He was the second director, following Admoni, to have grown within the Mossad, and was the last director whose name was classified during his term.

Shabtai Shavit adapted the structure and deployment of the Mossad, as well as its combat doctrine, to fit the significant historic events and changes that occurred in the world in the course of his term. These events included the breakup of the Soviet Union and the East European bloc; the end of the Cold War; the opening of China; the increased influence of the eastern Asian countries on the global economy; and the strengthening of the trend towards globalization. In the Middle East, Iran joined the race for nuclear development, as did Saddam Hussein's Iraq; Iraq invaded Kuwait, which resulted in the forming of an international coalition of countries  led by the U.S.; and the first Gulf War took place.

During Shavit's term, the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan was signed in 1994. The Mossad was involved in the negotiations to reach the agreement, which was eventually achieved after many years of covert ties between Israel and Jordan.

Upon his taking up the position, the issue of the Mossad's organizational culture, which focused on values and manpower dilemmas, was examined extensively. As a result, the Mossad's credo was drafted, and its values and culture were defined.

After completing his Mossad service, Shavit was appointed general manager of Maccabi Health Care Services, and then turned to business. He also served for many years as an advisor to the Subcommittee for Secret Services of the Knesset‘s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.