Barak announces retirement
JERUSALEM — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak abruptly announced on Monday that he was leaving politics and would not run in parliamentary elections in January, quashing speculation that he might unite with other centrist candidates to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Barak, who declared that he would step down when a new government is formed after the election, said he felt he had “exhausted my involvement in politics.”
Barak faced poor election prospects for his tiny Independence faction despite a modest bump in the polls upon Israel's recent military offensive in Gaza against the Islamist group Hamas.
By announcing his departure after that campaign, which boosted his approval ratings as defense minister, Barak appeared positioned for a potential return to the job as an outside cabinet appointment after the Jan. 22 election. He was noncommittal Monday when asked if he might return to the cabinet if invited back to serve as defense minister.
Barak's announcement came as a surprise after recent reports that he was negotiating an alliance with Tzipi Livni, the former head of the opposition Kadima party, to lead a centrist bloc that could take on Netanyahu. Livni is expected to announce her plans this week.
Barak told a news conference that he had decided “to leave political life and not run in the elections for the coming Knesset,” Israel's parliament. A former prime minister and army chief of staff, Barak, 70, said he wanted to devote more time to his family.
Netanyahu, who is favored to win another term as prime minister, issued a statement saying that he respected Barak's decision and that he “very much appreciates his contribution, over many years, to the security of the state.”
After working in tandem with Netanyahu to raise the alarm about Iran's nuclear program, Barak appeared to be trying to set himself apart from the prime minister, highlighting his own role in strengthening security ties with Washington.
When Netanyahu publicly criticized the Obama administration in September for not drawing a “red line” regarding Iran's nuclear efforts, Barak criticized the move, saying such disagreements should be resolved “behind closed doors.” He later floated the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from much of the West Bank while leaving large settlements under Israeli control, an idea that has been rejected by Netanyahu.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Police investigate pair of fatal rush hour incidents in Shaler, Marshall
- Big names highlight Three Rivers Arts Festival’s 2015 musical lineup
- Developer delays renovation plans for Northway Mall
- Monessen police investigating drive-by shooting
- Pirates notebook: Reliever Holdzkom among three players cut
- Penguins notebook: Flyers’ success in Pittsburgh stems from power play
- Man awaiting trial for offering drugs to 2 teens found hanged in his Belle Vernon home
- Pirates again approach Polanco about contract extension
- Pa. Supreme Court upholds special prosecutor appointed to investigate leaks from Kane’s office
- Husband of accused drug-dealing teacher faces his own drug, intimidation charges