Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Barak Splits from Labor Party To form New Movement

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has split from the Labor party, which he serves as chairman, to form a new party.

Four other Labor lawmakers joined Barak on Monday: Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon; Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai; Deputy Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Orit Noked; and freshman Knesset member Einat Wilf.

The new party is expected to be called Atzmaut, or Independence. “We are creating a faction, a movement and eventually a party that will be centrist, Zionist and democratic,” Barak told reporters Monday.

Following Barak’s split with the party, three Labor government ministers announced that they would leave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government coalition: Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman; and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.

Barak’s exit from the Labor Party was facilitated by Netanyahu and his officials, several Israeli media outlets charged, citing unnamed sources.

Netanyahu has already begun negotiations to keep the new faction in his government. If successful, he will maintain a parliamentary majority, despite the exit of other Labor ministers.

Several Labor lawmakers have in recent weeks threatened to quit the coalition over the lack of progress in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party, called on Netanyahu to call for new elections, saying that: “The Netanyahu government lost its legitimacy today and is living off small political maneuvers. The only way for political opportunism is elections, and Kadima is reiterating its call for elections.”

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.