PERI, YA'AKOV (1944– ), former head of the Shabak (Israel's General Security Service) and afterwards chairman of Bank Hamizrachi. Peri was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Netanyah. After his military service he studied the history of Ereẓ Israel and the Middle East at Tel Aviv University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1966 he joined the Shabak as field worker in the Arab Department. In 1987 he was nominated deputy head of the organization and in 1988 took over as head. This was the period of the first Intifada and later of the Oslo accords, developments that forced him to make organizational changes in order to improve flexibility in dealing with the new problems. In 1994 he went on leave to study management, marketing, and economics at Harvard University. In 1995 he retired from the Shabak and joined the business sector as president and CEO of Cellcom, a new cellular phone company. In 2003, after eight years as head of the company, he left Cellcom and was named chairman of Bank Mizrachi. In addition, he was the chairman of the board of Lipman Electronic Engineering and a member of the board of Magal Security Systems. Peri was also the prime minister's coordinator for prisoners of war and missing soldiers.
[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]