Israel's cabinet on Sunday appointed Yossi Cohen, the outgoing deputy director of the Mossad spy agency, as national security adviser and National Security Council chief, the premier's office said.
"The cabinet unanimously approved Yossi Cohen as national security adviser and chairman of the National Security Council," said the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jerusalem-born Cohen, 52, has "30 years' experience in various operational and intelligence positions in the field, as well as in administrative positions" in Mossad, it said in a statement.
"Cohen has accumulated considerable knowledge in managing large systems and in the international arena, and vast experience with Israel's political and security establishments" over his career.
The website of the National Security Council says it "is the prime minister and the government's staff forum for advising on national security issues."
The head of the organisation reports directly to the prime minister, and its functions include "responsibility for the Counter-Terrorism Bureau's activities".
Little else is known about Cohen, whose Mossad activities were shrouded in secrecy. Israeli media said he spent much of his career recruiting and activating agents.
Haaretz newspaper, which is critical of Netanyahu, called the appointment "odd" and questioned if Cohen, "a brilliant spy", had the necessary skills and experience to oversee issues such as the Middle East peace process.
The premier's office said Cohen would in the coming months replace outgoing Council chairman Yaakov Amidror, who held the position for two-and-a-half years, following a handover period.