Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters in Tel Aviv this morning: “I decided to retire from politics and not to run in the coming elections.” Barak added: “I joined the army in 1959, and for 47 years served the people of Israel as best I could. I will finish the job when the next government takes office and will spend more time with my family. I got all I could out of my engagement in politics, which was never an object of desire for me, and I feel that new people should be encouraged to take up senior positions. Turnover in positions of power is a good thing.”

As poll after poll has been showing that Barak’s Knesset list Atzmaut (Independence) was in danger of not making it past the blocking percentage, there were speculations in political circles that Barak would try and get himself into a secure position on the list of one of the major political parties. But as most Likud ministers declared their open aversion to his inclusion on their list, and as Labor, which he deserted to join the Likud government, was in no mood to take him back, Barak’s future was becoming murkier and murkier over the summer and into the political autumn.

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That’s when Defense Minister Barak began a campaign that was intended to distinguish between himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a campaign that reached full throttle over the PM’s open conflict with the White House over attacking Iran. After appearing to be of one mind with Netanyahu on the urgent need to stop the Iranian nuclear program, Barak distanced himself from that view and sounded more like the Pentagon officials he had been debating a short while before.

As other parties were organizing for the coming elections, it seemed that Barak was courting all of them, with the possible exception of the National Religious party and the Ethiopians. Labor’s Ofer Eini, the landless Tzipi Livni, the Likud’s Prince Hamlet Moshe Kahlon, nouveau-Golda-Meir Shelly Yachimovich, and even Czar Liberman, all spent some face time with Barak these past couple of months, and all, apparently, rejected his advances.

Barak’s decision will be accepted with a deep sigh of relief by folks who live in Judea and Samaria, who were subject to the Defense Minister’s unyielding attempts to chip away at Jewish settlements, including many cases in which his nod would have meant the difference between Jewish families being evicted from their homes or being allowed to continue living in homes they had purchased legally.

Barak has also been a bulwark against Netanyahu’s adopting the Levi committee’s recommendations which came down to applying Israeli law in places where Israelis live in Judea and Samaria.

In Hebron, in Migron and in many other Jewish towns and villages, Ehud Barak will not be missed. But Netanyahu’s choice for Barak’s replacement at the ministry of defense should signal what kind of policy the next government will pursue regarding the “disputed territories.”

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8 COMMENTS

  1. As I remember in one of my psychology classes, there was a time study done on the life expectancy of drowning mice. There were two groups. The first group were put in a bucket of water and clocked to see how long they would live. The second group was put in a bucket of water and at midpoint in time of the first group, they were saved and pulled out of the water. Shortly thereafter, they were put back into the water and they were clocked to have lived longer by about three times more than the first group before they drowned. They were hoping that they would be pulled out and be saved again; so, they kept on treading water. With all the problems that we have suffered and will continue to suffer in Israel, Barak’s retirement, gives us hope to continue with the struggle more than we could have if he had stayed in office.

    After his announcement, I expect Aliyah to increase.

  2. Obama will be upset with Barak’s retirement for Barak was a faithful stooge, I mean shlumiel, I mean steward for Obama. Barak used his IDF training and experience of fighting terrorists to destroy Jewish homes and communities in the most effective way that only a terrorist would expect at 3:00 in the morning when everyone was in bed to be kicked out of their homes in their pajamas only to see their homes destroyed before their eyes and before the terrified crying eyes of their children with no home to go to. Barak then turns his back on the homeless and spends thousands of dollars to rent one of the most expensive motel rooms in the world so that he could enjoy himself at the Paris air show. Barak will be missed by all the terrorist supporting organizations that want to destroy Israel. He will go down in the analnuals (2 word conjunction) of infamy second to Peres of leading a political life based only on delusions of grandeur. Now Barak is retiring just before he gets kicked out of the government with the forthcoming elections.

    Does anyone know if there is special blessing because of such good news?

  3. Here is one of the famous failures of Ehud Barak. Corporal Madhat Yusuf, a nineteen-year-old Israel Border Guard policeman, was stationed at the time at Joseph’s Tomb in present-day Nablus. On 1 October 2000, an armed Palestinian group attacked the tomb, and Yusuf suffered a gunshot wound to the neck from a Palestinian sniper. Rather than send in Israeli rescue forces, Ehud Barak, who was Prime Minister and Minister of Defense at the time, instructed Chief of the General Staff Shaul Mofaz to arrange for the Palestinian Authority to evacuate Yusuf to safety. The Palestinians didn’t arrive and Yusuf bled to death after four hours. Now, can you imagine giving an order to the people whom an Israeli border guard is trained to shoot at would rescue him?

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