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Nov-26-2012 02:54printcomments

Israel's Ehud Barak Announces Resignation From Political Life

Defense minister says he has been considering quitting for some time, but Operation Pillar of Defense delayed his decision.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak

(TEL AVIV) - Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his intention to quit political life Monday morning in a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

Barak thanked the public for its continued support and said he will remain in his position as defense in minister until a new government has been formed following the coming Knesset elections in late January.

Barak added that he had been considering quitting for some time, but Operation Pillar of Defense delayed his decision, and subsequent announcement.

"I want to dedicate more time to my family. I feel I have exhausted dealing with political life, which has never been a passion of mine, and I feel there is room to allow other people to serve in senior roles in Israel," Barak said.

Barak reiterated that the Iranian threat would remain a central issue for Israel, exiting politics with the topic he is most famous for - as demonstrated by American global affairs site Foreign Policy.

On Monday, Foreign Policy magazine published a list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, naming Ehud Barak number 13 along with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for efforts on Iran.

"Barak, once the standard-bearer of the Israeli left and an implacable foe of Netanyahu, has improbably become Bibi's closest ally in the effort to stop Tehran from going nuclear," the magazine wrote explaining the decision to name the two politicians.

According to Foreign Policy, Barak played a crucial role in focusing world attention on what he has described as a "zone of immunity," the point at which Iran's nuclear program cannot be destroyed through an attack.

The list quoted Barak as saying the Iranian threat is a "sword on the neck" of the Jewish state.

Barak had been defense minister since 2007 and served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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