Avi Dichter (Hebrew: אבי דיכטר, IPA: ; born December 4, 1952) is an Israeli politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. He is a former Minister of Internal Security.
Born in Ashkelon, Dichter's parents were Holocaust survivors. As an adolescent, he joined Hashomer Hatzair, the oldest Zionist youth movement still functioning. After graduating high school (where he met his wife Ilana, with whom he has three children), Dichter was selected to serve in the elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces, Sayeret Matkal, under then Commander Ehud Barak. Upon completing his military service, Dichter joined Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, in 1974 where he advanced to eventually become its Director in 2000.
He began his career in Shin Bet as a sky marshal for El Al. After becoming proficient in Arabic and completing field intelligence courses, he began working in the Shin Bet's Southern District—specifically in the Gaza Strip. In 1986 he gained a BA in Social Science from Bar-Ilan University. In 1992, he was appointed as Director for the region. The targeted killing of Hamas operative Yahya Ayyash—known as "The Engineer"—took place under Dichter's leadership. The assassination of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 shed light on Shin Bet's shortcomings. Aiming to improve the Shin Bet's protection capabilities, Dichter was appointed Director of the Security and Protection Division. In 1999, he became Deputy Director of Shin Bet, and gained an Executive MBA from Tel Aviv University. One year later, Prime Minister Ehud Barak promoted Dichter to Director.