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The Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks
[ha-Mossad le-Modiin ule-Tafkidim Meyuhadim]

Mossad [Hebrew for "institute"] has responsibility for human intelligence collection, covert action, and counterterrorism. Its focus is on Arab nations and organizations throughout the world. Mossad also is responsible for the clandestine movement of Jewish refugees out of Syria, Iran, and Ethiopia. Mossad agents are active in the former communist countries, in the West, and at the UN.

Mossad is headquartered in Tel Aviv. The staff of Mossad was estimated during the late 1980s to number between 1,500 to 2,000 personnel, with more recent estimates placing the staff at an estimated 1,200 personnel. The identity of the director of Mossad was traditionally a state secret, or at least not widely publicized, until in March 1996 the Government announced the appointment of Major General Danny Yatom as the replacement for Mossad Director Shabtai Shavit, who resigned in early 1996. Danny Yatom (1996-1998) was succeeded by Ephraim Halevy (1998-2002). In September 2002, Meir Dagan was designated as Mossad director.

Formerly known as the Central Institute for Coordination and the Central Institute for Intelligence and Security, Mossad was formed on 01 April 1951. Mossad was established by then Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who gave as Mossad's primary directive: "For our state which since its creation has been under siege by its enemies. Intelligence constitutes the first line of defence...we must learn well how to recognise what is going on around us."

Mossad has a total of eight departments, though some details of the internal organization of the agency remain obscure.

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