Ehud Barak Will Quit Politics

Defense Minister Won't Run Again in Upcoming Election

Won’t Run Again: Ehud Barak, a key architect of Israel’s policies against Iran and a regular liaison to U.S. leaders, is leaving politics and will resign after the January elections.
getty images
Won’t Run Again: Ehud Barak, a key architect of Israel’s policies against Iran and a regular liaison to U.S. leaders, is leaving politics and will resign after the January elections.

By Reuters

Published November 26, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday he was quitting politics, a surprise decision that deepens uncertainty over how Israel will confront Iran’s nuclear programme.

Barak’s political fortunes appeared to be on the rise after Israel’s eight-day offensive in the Gaza Strip ended in a truce, but polls predicted his centrist party, a junior partner in right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, would win no more than four seats in Israel’s 120-member parliament.

A former head of the centre-left Labour Party, Barak has insisted he and Netanyahu have been united on policy toward Iran, an issue that has often put the prime minister at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama.

But as the only centrist member of the governing coalition of right-wing and pro-settler parties, Barak has frequently visited Washington for talks with top U.S. officials and had criticised Netanyahu for airing differences with the United States.

Dennis Ross, a veteran U.S. envoy and former Obama adviser, called Barak “perhaps the leading advocate for military action against Iran”.

“He has had very close relationships with his U.S. counterparts, and while that has had an influence on his readiness to act militarily against Iran, he has been prepared for a unilateral Israeli strike if he thought that would be necessary,” Ross told Reuters.

“Whoever would replace him in the next government will be hard-pressed to have the same stature or influence both with the prime minister (Netanyahu) and with us,” he said.

At a hastily-called news conference, he said he would not be a candidate in an election on Jan. 22 that Netanyahu’s Likud party is forecast to win.

He said he would remain in his post until a new government was formed in about three months’ time, signalling his decision would have no immediate effect on Israel’s calculations on how best to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“The Iranian issue remains very important, even after I leave my position in three months. It will remain a central issue on the agenda,” he said.

The 70-year-old ex-general said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Politics, he said, “has never been a particular passion of mine, and I feel there is room to allow other people to serve in senior roles in Israel”.

He said he would be prepared to offer advice to the next prime minister, if asked.

Barak has been defence minister since 2007 and served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001, taking time out from politics after he lost the election to the Likud’s Ariel Sharon.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.