Barak Quits Politics

Ehud Barak with American President Barack Obama

Contrary to what a lot might be thinking, it is not Barack Obama that is being referred to here, rather, it is Israel’s former Prime Minister and current Defence Minister, Ehud Barak. Barak on Monday announced he was quitting political life after decades in politics.

Barak, 70, made the surprise announcement at a press conference in Tel Aviv; he pointed out that he would retire from politics after a new government is formed in the wake of January elections. According to him, “I have decided to resign from political life and not participate in the upcoming Knesset elections… I will finish my duties as defence minister with the formation of the next government in three months,” he added, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

This announcement is coming even as political observers had speculated the long-time politician would announce he was joining another political party ahead of the January 22 elections. Many suspected he might pair up with former foreign minister Tzipi Livni to run on a centrist ticket, after she quit the centre-right Kadima party following her loss in a primary vote.

But few believed that Barak would announce he was quitting political life altogether, in a decision that caps a tumultuous year for him. In January, he resigned from the Labour party where he had spent his entire political life, leading his newly-formed Independence faction into the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.