EHUD BARAK (Hebrew : אֵהוּד בָּרָק (help ·info ), born EHUD BROG; 12 February 1942) is an Israeli politician who served as the tenth Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011. He previously held the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu 's second government from 2009 to 2013.
He is the joint most highly decorated soldier in Israel's history,
having taken part in many battles and combat missions. He is a
graduate in physics, mathematics, and economics from the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem and
* 1 Personal life
* 1.1 Education
* 2 Military service
* 3 Political career
* 3.1 Prime Minister of Israel * 3.2 Domestic issues * 3.3 Resignation
* 3.4 Return to politics
* 3.4.1 Defense Minister * 3.4.2 As head of the Labor Party * 3.4.3 Leaving the Labor Party
* 4 Wealth * 5 References in popular culture * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Bibliography * 9 External links
He was born on 12 February 1942 in kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon in what was then Mandatory Palestine . He is the eldest of four sons of Esther (née Godin; 25 June 1914 – 12 August 2013) and Yisrael Mendel Brog (24 August 1910 – 8 February 2002).
His paternal grandparents, Frieda and Reuven Brog, were murdered in
Pušalotas (Pushelat) in the northern
Ehud hebraized his family name from "Brog" to "Barak" in 1972. It was during his military service that he met his future wife, Nava (née Cohen, born 8 April 1947). They had three daughters together: Michal (born 9 August 1970), Yael (born 23 October 1974) and Anat (born 16 October 1981). Barak divorced Nava in August 2003. On 30 July 2007, Barak married Nili Priel (born 25 April 1944) in a small ceremony in his private residence. In his spare time, Barak enjoys reading works by writers such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , and he is a classical pianist, with many years of study behind him.
Barak earned his bachelor\'s degree in physics and mathematics from
Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1968, and his master's degree in
engineering-economic systems in 1978 from
Barak joined the
Israel Defense Forces (I.D.F.) in 1959. He served in
the IDF for 35 years, rising to the position of Chief of the General
Staff and the rank of _
Rav Aluf _ (Lieutenant-General), the highest in
the Israeli military. During the
Yom Kippur War
During his service as a commando in the elite
Sayeret Matkal , Barak
led several highly acclaimed operations, such as: "Operation Isotope",
the mission to free the hostages on board the hijacked Sabena Flight
571 at Lod Airport in 1972; the 1973 covert mission Operation Spring
of Youth in Beirut, in which he was disguised as a woman to kill
members of the
Palestine Liberation Organization ; Barak was also a
key architect of the June 1976
Operation Entebbe , another rescue
mission to free the hostages of the
Later he served as head of Aman, the Military Intelligence Directorate (1983–85), head of Central Command (1986–87) and Deputy Chief of the General Staff (1987–91). He served as Chief of the General Staff between 1 April 1991 and 1 January 1995. During this period he implemented the first Oslo Accords and participated in the negotiations towards the Israel–Jordan peace treaty .
Barak was awarded the Medal of Distinguished Service and four Chief of Staff citations (_Tzalash HaRamatkal_) for courage and operational excellence. These five decorations make him the most decorated soldier in Israeli history (jointly with close friend Nechemiah Cohen and Major Amitai Hason). In 1992 he was awarded the Legion of Merit (Commander) by the United States. In 2012, he was again awarded by the United States with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service .
On 7 July 1995, Barak was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs by Yitzhak Rabin . When Shimon Peres formed a new government following Rabin's assassination in November 1995, Barak was made Minister of Foreign Affairs (1995–96). He was elected to the Knesset on the Labor Party list in 1996 , and served as a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Following internal elections after Peres' defeat in the election for Prime Minister in 1996, Barak became the leader of the Labor Party.
PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL
Barak at the Pentagon (1999)
In the 1999 Prime Ministerial election , Barak beat Benjamin Netanyahu by a wide margin. However, he sparked controversy by deciding to form a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox party Shas , who had won an unprecedented 17 seats in the 120-seat Knesset . Shas grudgingly agreed to Barak's terms that they eject their leader Aryeh Deri , a convicted felon, and enact reform to "clean up" in-party corruption. Consequentially, the left wing Meretz party quit the coalition after they failed to agree on the powers to be given to a Shas deputy minister in the Ministry of Education.
In 1999 Barak gave a campaign promise to end Israel's 22-year-long occupation of Southern Lebanon within a year. On 24 May 2000 Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon. On 7 October, three Israeli soldiers were killed in a border raid by Hezbollah and their bodies were subsequently captured. The bodies of these soldiers, along with the living Elhanan Tenenbaum, were eventually exchanged for Lebanese captives in 2004.
The Barak government resumed peace negotiations with the PLO , stating that "Every attempt to keep hold of this area as one political entity leads, necessarily, to either a nondemocratic or a non-Jewish state. Because if the Palestinians vote, then it is a binational state , and if they don't vote it is an apartheid state." As part of these negotiations, Barak took part in the Camp David 2000 Summit which was meant finally to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict but failed. Barak also allowed Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami to attend the Taba Summit with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority , after his government had fallen.
On 22 August 1999, Barak appointed the
Tal committee which dealt with
the controversial issue of ultra-Orthodox Jews' exemption from
military service. Following the failure of the Camp David summit with
In 2001, Barak called a special election for Prime Minister . In the
contest, he was defeated by Likud leader
Ariel Sharon , and
subsequently resigned as Labor leader and from the Knesset. He left
RETURN TO POLITICS
In 2005, Barak announced his return to Israeli politics, and ran for
leadership of the Labor Party in November. However, in light of his
weak poll showings, Barak dropped out of the race early and declared
his support for veteran statesman
Shimon Peres . Following his failed
attempt to maintain leadership of the Labor party, Barak became a
partner of the investment company SCP Private Equity Partners,
After Peres lost the race to
Amir Peretz and left the Labor party,
Barak announced he would stay at the party, despite his shaky
relationship with its newly elected leader. He declared, however, that
he would not run for a spot on the Labor party's
Knesset list for the
March 2006 elections . Barak's attempt to return to a prominent role
In January 2007 Barak launched a bid to recapture the leadership of the Labor party in a letter acknowledging "mistakes" and "inexperience" during his tenure as Prime Minister. In early March 2007, a poll of Labor Party primary voters put Barak ahead of all other opponents, including Peretz. In the first round of voting, on 28 May 2007, he gained 39% of the votes, more than his two closest rivals, but not enough to win the election.
As a result, Barak faced a runoff against the second-place finisher, Ami Ayalon , on 12 June 2007, which he won by a narrow margin.
Barak has been critical of what he sees as racist sentiments that have recently been expressed by some Israeli rabbis and rebbetzins ; he views such statements as a threat to Israeli unity and that they may lead Israeli society into a "dark and dangerous place".
As Head Of The Labor Party
After winning back the leadership of the Labor party, Barak was sworn
in as Minister of Defense on 18 June 2007, as part of Prime Minister
Olmert 's cabinet reshuffle. However, on 1 July 2007, Barak led a
successful effort in the Labor central committee to stipulate that
Labor would leave the government coalition if Olmert did not resign by
September or October 2007. At that time the
Winograd Commission would
publish its final report on the performance of the
From December 2008 to January 2009, Barak led Operation Cast Lead .
Labor won only 13 out of the 120 Knesset seats in the 2009 elections , making them the fourth largest party. Barak and other Labor officials initially stated they would not take part in the next government. However, over the objections of some in the Labor party, Barak later reached an agreement under which Labor joined the governing coalition. Barak retained his position as Defense Minister.
Leaving The Labor Party
In January 2011, Labor Party leader Barak formed a breakaway party, Independence , which enabled him to maintain his loyal Labor's MK faction within Netanyahu's government, and prevented the departure of Labor party as a whole from Netanyahu's coalition-government. Labor previously threatened to force Barak to do so. After Barak's move, Netanyahu was able to maintain a majority of 66 MK (out of 120 in the Knesset ), previously having 74 MKs within his majority coalition.
In February 2011, Barak attended a ceremony at the UN for the
International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the
Holocaust. Barak told the UN General Assembly: "an independent,
strong, thriving and peaceful State of
In 2012, Barak's Independence party was due to run for election but decided not to, choosing to quit politics. Barak planned to quit since Operation Pillar of Defense and the Gaza War but postponed it till later that year.
Barak stated during an American television interview that he would "probably" strive for nuclear weapons if he were in Iran's position, adding "I don't delude myself that they are doing it just because of Israel". This comment has been criticized and compared to Barak's comment in 1998 during a television interview when he said that if he were a Palestinian he would probably have joined one of the terror organizations.
In an interview with _ Haaretz _ reported in January 2015, Barak was asked to explain the source of his "big" capital, with which he "bought 5 apartments and connected them," and by which he "lives in a giant rental apartment in a luxury high rise." Barak said he currently earns more than a million dollars a year, and that from 2001-7, he also earned more than a million dollars every year, from giving lectures and from consulting for hedge funds . Barak also said he made millions of dollars more from his investments in Israeli real estate properties.
In the interview, Barak was asked whether he is a lobbyist that earns
a living from "opening doors." The interviewer stated "You have
arrived recently at the Kazakhstan despot Nazarbayev and the president
REFERENCES IN POPULAR CULTURE
* The film _Munich _ includes a scene reflecting the real Barak's experience leading his Sayeret Matkal unit in the commando raid Operation Spring of Youth ; he is mentioned by name, and appears disguised as a woman in high heels while firing on presumed PLO Leaders.
* List of Israel\'s Chiefs of the General Staff
* ^ Rebecca Anna Stoil (17 January 2011). "Barak, 4 other MKs, to
split from". _The Jerusalem Post_. Archived from the original on 4
March 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
* ^ "RT
* Bregman, Ahron _Elusive Peace: How the Holy Land Defeated America_. * Clinton, Bill (2005). _My Life_. Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X . * Dromi, Uri (5 November 2005). "Still craving peace 10 years after Rabin". _ New Straits Times _, p. 20.
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