Carmi Gillon

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Person.png Carmi Gillon   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, politician, diplomat)
Carmi Gillon.jpg
BornJanuary 1950
Alma materNational Security College (Israel), Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Kennedy School of Government
Shin Bet leader who failed to provide adequate security during the 4 November 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

Employment.png Director of The Shin Bet

In office
1995 - 1996
Succeeded byAmi Ayalon

Carmi Gillon was Director of Israel's Shin Bet security agency between the years 1995-1996.[1]

He failed to provide adequate security during the 4 November 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Gillon had (conveniently) been far away in Paris at the time of the assassination, and upon returning to Israel, immediately submitted his resignation to Acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who rejected it. Nevertheless, he resigned the following year.

When he was Ambassador to Denmark, there were calls to prosecute him for use of torture.


Gillon was born in Jerusalem. His mother, Saada Gillon (née Frumkin), was born in Palestine. Her ancestors had come to Palestine from the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Gillon's maternal great grandfather was Israel Dov Frumkin, a pioneer of Hebrew journalism in Palestine who had moved to Palestine from Russia in 1859. His maternal grandfather, Gad Frumkin, was one of the first trained attorneys in Palestine, who was the only Jewish judge on the Supreme Court of Palestine during the British Mandate era and was also a member of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Board of Governors from the 1930s until his death. His maternal grandmother, Chana Frumkin, was the daughter of Aharon Eisenberg, a pioneer of the First Aliyah who was one of the founders of Rehovot, and was the President of B'nai B'rith in Jerusalem. His mother served as Deputy Attorney General. His father, Colin Gillon, was born Colin Gluckman to a Jewish family in Johannesburg, South Africa, and immigrated to Palestine in 1937. Gillon's paternal grandmother, Katie Gluckman, was a prominent activist in the Zionist movement in South Africa. Colin served as State Attorney, and Hebraized his name from Gluckman to Gillon at Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's insistence.[2][3][4]

Gillon studied at high school in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia, and at the Academy of Music. He began his military service in the Israel Defense Forces in the Armored Corps, but was transferred to the Artillery Corps. He was wounded in action in the War of Attrition, and was discharged from the IDF in 1971. In 1972, he began studying political science and public administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Shin Bet

After joining the Shin Bet, Gillon worked as a bodyguard in the field as well as in senior headquarter positions.He headed the Jewish Department from 1982 to 1987, During this time, he was involved with the capture of the Jewish Underground and of Yonah Avrushmi, who threw a grenade at a Peace Now demonstration in Jerusalem in 1983.[5]

He left this position in order to begin studies in the National Security College. He served in a number of senior positions during study for an MA in political science and public administration.[1]

In 1989 he was appointed head of the Training Division. In 1990, he became head of the Northern Command in the ISA, a position in which he was responsible for Shin Bet activity in Lebanon. In 1993, he became head of the Administrative Division, responsible for HR, finances and logistics.[1]

In 1994, he was appointed proxy Shin Bet Director during the four months of Yaakov Peri’s academic leave. He was appointed Shin Bet Director on a permanent basis in 1995.[1]

On 4 November 1995 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Immediately following the assassination, Gillon appointed an internal committee, which submitted preliminary findings and conclusions three days later. When he presented the report to the proxy prime minister, Shimon Peres, Gillon also submitted his resignation. In February 1996, after a short period of parallel service with Ami Ayalon, Carmi Gillon resigned from the Shin Bet.[1]

Ambassador to Denmark

From 2001 to 2003, he was the Israeli ambassador to Denmark. When he was nominated for the position in 2001, Human Rights Watch called for the Danish government to reject his appointment[6] and for Israel to withdraw his nomination, while Amnesty International asked the Danish authorities to investigate him for torture, and if there was enough evidence for a prosecution, to detain him under the UN Convention against Torture, and to either try him or extradite him to a state willing to try him.[7] Danish Justice Minister Frank Jensen initially said that Gillon could be arrested and prosecuted under the terms of the Convention after he admitted using "moderate physical pressure" on Palestinian detainees,[8] but later backed down, acknowledging that as an ambassador, Gillon was protected by diplomatic immunity.

In January 2014, Gillon arrived in Denmark to attend the Copenhagen Film Festival for a screening of The Gatekeepers and to deliver a lecture. After a Danish anti-torture NGO reported Gillon to the police for torture, Gillon left Denmark on January 10. The Prosecutor's Office subsequently rejected the complaint due to lack of evidence.[9][10]

Politics and other activities

From 2007 to 2013, he was vice president for external relations for Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Gillon has been a member of a number of boards of directors, including the Tahal Group, Danker Investment, and the Arab Israel Bank. From 2014, he was chairman and CEO of Carmi Gillon Inc., chairman of CYTEGIC, and external director of the Dan Hotels chain.[11]

Over the years, Gillon has written several books and a range of articles on the subjects of foreign affairs and security. He has also been an active current affairs commentator in the electronic media in Israel and overseas.

In 2012, Gillon was featured in a documentary film, The Gatekeepers, and discussed the main events of his tenure in Shin Bet.

Gillon is married to Sari. He has three children and five grandchildren.