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Israeli Defense Minister resigns

CCTV.com

11-27-2012 11:06 BJT

By CCTV correspondent Nina Donaghy

Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak has resigned from his position and says he is quitting politics a month before Israel goes to the polls.

Seventy-year-old Barak also served as Israel’s prime minister for two years and was a familiar figure on the world stage and in Washington DC.

Ehud Barak, has been a fixture on Israel’s political scene for years, all of this following a long career in the Israel defense forces. He was part of the commando team famous for taking part in the raid on Entebbe to free hostages in 1972, and although Avigdor Leiberman is Israel’s official foreign minister, Ehud Barak also acted as a kind of de facto foreign envoy and was frequently in Washington.

Ehud Barak, former Israeli defense minister, said, "my decision to retire stems from my desire to devote that time to my family, and also because I have never felt that politics was the height of my ambition.”

Ehud Barak, defense minister, former prime minister and Israel’s most decorated soldier, serving in the IDF for 39 years during the 1973 war with Egypt and overseeing two daring raids to free Israeli hostages on hijacked planes, most famously the raid on Entebbe, Uganda in 1972 alongside a young Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speaks at a news conference in Tel Aviv
on Nov. 26, 2012. Ehud Barak announced Monday morning that he will quit politics
after the Jan. 22 national elections. (Xinhua/Jini)

A man of war but also of peace. As prime minister in 2000, he defied his own Knesset in seeking a peace agreement on final status issues with Yasser Arafat and Bill Clinton at Camp David.

Succeeded by Ariel Sharon, Barak’s independent party formed a coalition with Netanyahu’s right wing Likud Party, ensuring a return to politics officially as defense minister but more often replacing the hawish Avigdor Lieberman as de facto foreign minister.

But is Barak really leaving politics or in the complex world of Israeli politics; will he join Tzipi Livni‘s new party?

There’s a lot of speculation as to what’s really behind this resignation. I spoke to an Israeli official who told me Barak may yet announce an alliance with Livni - she is expected to make an announcement about her political future on Tuesday - Livni has been saying she will only return if she can form a strong enough coalition block to challenge Netanyahu.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speaks at a news conference in Tel Aviv
on Nov. 26, 2012. Ehud Barak announced Monday morning that he will quit politics
after the Jan. 22 national elections. (Xinhua/Jini)

 

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