• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Israeli shock at Barak's decision to quit politics

ISRAEL faces new turmoil after Defence Minister Ehud Barak made the shock announcement that he is quitting politics, just weeks from a general election.

Mr Barak, an ex-general and former prime minister, said he would remain in his post until a new government is formed following the January 22 vote.

"I didn't make this decision without hesitating, but I made it wholeheartedly," he told a hastily arranged news conference, saying he had been wrestling with the decision, due in part to a desire to spend more time with his family, for weeks.

His resignation could mean the departure of the most moderating influence on hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to retain his job after the election. Mr Barak, who heads a centrist faction in parliament, has often served as Mr Netanyahu's unofficial envoy to smooth over differences with the US.

Mr Barak, 70, made the surprise announcement even after polls showed his breakaway Independence Party gaining momentum after Israel's recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"There are many ways for me to serve the country, not just through politics," he said, though he evaded questions on whether he might serve as a cabinet minister in any forthcoming government.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.