Barak announces he will retire from political life, and will not run in Israel's upcoming elections. The resignation brings to an end a long military career, as one of Israel's most decorated soldiers.
Ha'aretz was first to report that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, had announced his retirement from political life Monday. The Associated Press followed by stating the 70-year-old leader of the Independence Party, would remain in the Defense Ministry until a new Israeli government is assembled, after elections.
Ehud Barak is one of Israel's most decorated soldiers, a distinction he shares with close friend Nechemya Cohen, a former Captain in Israel's Special Forces, who died in Gaza during the Six Day War.
Barak served in the Israeli military from 1959 until 1995, posted in Israel's military intelligence agency, Aman as well as Commander of Israel's Central Command, going on to serve as Chief of Staff in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Ehud Barak also served as Prime Minister of the State of Israel, having defeated current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by a wide margin. Elected in 1999, Barak served as Israel's Defense Minister, while occupying the Prime Minister's office, his government would fall in 2001. Following his defeat to Ariel Sharon, Barak resigned as head of the Labor Party, only to return to politics in 2005.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Ehud Barak stated he has been looking forward to resigning for some time, however Israel's recent military conflict in Gaza delayed his announcement. "I have exhausted politics and I want to dedicate more time to my family," Barak said in his announcement.
Leader of the Labor Party, Shelly Yacimovich expressed her regret at the news. Calling Barak, 'highly regarded' in the international community, Yacimovich who leads Labor's eight MP's, went on to say, that Barak had done more for Israel then the Jewish state will ever know. However not everyone was as kind to the outgoing Defense chief. Russian-born Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein, of Likud stated the party was finally independent of Ehud Barak.
Edelstein called Barak, "the worst Defense Minister there ever was for the Jewish settlement."
According to Ynet News, Barak claimed his passion never was politics, as for his future the fan of writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, gave a hint, "I want to study, write, live and have a good time."
However Yuli Edelstein stated that no one can count Ehud Barak out, ever the opportunist he went on to say he would not be surprised if Ehud Barak took the first chance he sees to make a comeback - only time will tell.