Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to quit politics


Edmund Sanders
LA Times
November 26, 2012

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, one of the nation’s most influential and divisive leaders, said Monday he would not run for a Knesset seat in the upcoming election, ending a political and military career that spanned more than three decades.

The surprise announcement comes in the wake of Israel’s eight-day clash with the Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but was prompted by domestic politics and Israel’s scheduled January elections.

[...] Liberals called Barak a traitor in 2009 for joining Netanyahu’s right-leaning government, a move that led Barak to quit the Labor Party two years later and form his own party.

Right-wingers never trusted Barak, fearing he would sacrifice West Bank settlement construction in order to achieve a peace deal with Palestinians. Many conservatives cheered Barak’s announcement Monday.

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