Israel’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, who previously served as Israel’s Prime Minister (1999-2001) and IDF Chief of Staff (1991-1995), made a surprise announcement in a press conference today, saying he will be retiring from politics to spend more time with his family. Barak will continue to serve as Israel’s Minister of Defense until the next government is formed following the January 2013 elections. This is Barak’s second announcement of retirement from politics, the first one coming in 2001 after his defeat in the 2001 general elections.
Barak’s popularity has significantly diminished in recent years, after he split from the Labor Party, which he headed, to form a new party, HaAtzmaut. The split insured that Barak could stay in Netanyahu’s government after most of the Labor’s Member of Knesset (the legislature of Israel) wanted to quit the government. Prior to Barak’s announcement, his party, which has five MKs who all split from the Labor Party, was hovering around the 2 per cent election threshold.
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