Yuval Diskin was born in 1956 and grew up in Givatayim. He enlisted in the IDF in 1974 and served as combat soldier, platoon commander, and deputy company commander in Shaked Reconnaissance Unit until January 1978.
Diskin has a BA in Israel Studies and Political Science from Bar Ilan University and an MA in Political Science and Public Administration, with integrated National Security Studies, from Haifa University.
Diskin began training as a Shin Bet case officer in May 1978. He was posted the following year as Nablus area case officer. In 1982, he was posted to an ISA force operating in Lebanon together with IDF during the conquest of Western Beirut. The following year he moved to a new post in Lebanon as Zidon regional case officer. In 1984, he was appointed 'Samaria district' case officer. In 1990, he became Head of Counterterrorism Department at Shin Bet HQ.
In 1993, headed the process of establishing security contacts with the Palestinian security apparatuses as part of the Oslo process. He later established security contacts with the Jordanian and Egyptian security apparatuses on behalf of Shin Bet.
1994 he was appointed Deputy Head of Arab and Iranian Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence Division, and subsequently promoted to Head of the Division. The makers of The Gatekeepers, a film based on interviews with former Shin Bet directors, describe Diskin's role in the former position as 'Director of the Department for Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Espionage at the Arab and Iranian Affairs Desk.'
In 1997, he became head of Shin Bet's 'Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria Field Office' responsible for operations in the West Bank.
From July 2000 until September 2003, he was Deputy Head of Shin Bet.
The makers of the film The Gatekeepers state that Diskin "is believed to be the person who initiated and perfected the doctrine of "targeted assassination."
On 15 May 15, 2005 he was appointed Head of Shin Bet.
A February 2006 cable between Diskin and US Ambassador Richard H. Jones records the following exchange:
- (S) Diskin called the contradictory statements of various Hamas leaders -- sometimes moderate, sometimes extreme --"dialectical declarations." The Ambassador responded that these perceived differences could be designed to split the international community. Diskin predicted that we will soon see UK efforts to establish contacts with Hamas figures. Already, he claimed, representatives of Mohammed Abu Tair, who was elected as the number-two member of the Hamas-affiliated "change and reform" list, have been in contact with "higher echelons in the UK." (Comment: Diskin did not indicate which party -- Hamas or HMG may have initiated contact. End Comment.)
In 2010, Diskin extended his service as Head of Shin Bet for another year at the request of the Israeli Prime Minister. He retired from the position on 15 May 2011, moving to a career in high technology industry.
- Isa Chief Diskin Views Rafah As Test Case, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 28 November 2005, unredacted publication by Wikileaks, 8 September 2011.
- Isa Diskin Discusses Hamas And Plc Elections With Codel Ackerman, Us Embassy Tel Aviv, 9 January 2006, published by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- Isa Chief Diskin Says Hamas To Do Well In Pa Elections, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 13 January 2006, published by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- Isa Chief Diskin: Hamas On The Horizon, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 16 February 2006, unredacted publication by Wikileaks, 8 September 2011.
- US embassy cables: US discusses Gaza with Israeli security chief, guardian.co.uk, cable dated, 4 October 2006, Guardian publication, 7 April 2011 (Wikileaks version).
- Frances Townsend's November 12 Meeting With Isa Chief Diskin Focuses On The Palestinians, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 24 November 2006, unredacted version published by Wikileaks, 8 September 2011.
- Ambassador Jones' December 24 Meeting With Isa Chief Diskin, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 28 December 2007,published by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- US embassy cables: US talks to Israeli security chief about Arabs and Gaza, guardian.co.uk, cable dated 22 May 2008, Guardian publication, 7 April 2011. (Wikileaks version)
- Shin Bet Chief On Goi-pa Security Cooperation, Us Embassy Tel Aviv, cable dated 8 January 2010, wikileaks unredacted publication 8 September 2011
- Barak Ravid, Former Shin Bet chief: Netanyahu not interested in peace talks, Haaretz, 28 April 2012.
- Ex-Shin Bet head: Conditions ripe for Palestinian Arab Spring, Haaretz, 21 October 2013.
- Harriet Sherwood, Israeli former security chief: failure to end conflict is bigger threat than Iran, The Guardian, 5 December 2013.
- Yuval Diskin appointed ISA Director, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 February 2005.
- Yuval Diskin, Israel Security Agency, accessed 14 May 2013.
- YUVAL DISKIN/2005-2011, thegatekeepersfilm.com, accessed 14 May 2013.
- Isa Chief Diskin: Hamas On The Horizon, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 16 February 2006, unredacted publication by wikileaks, 8 September 2012.