Barak in 2016
|10th Prime Minister of Israel|
6 July 1999 –7 March 2001
|President|| Ezer Weizman |
|Deputy|| Yitzhak Mordechai |
|Preceded by||Benjamin Netanyahu|
|Succeeded by||Ariel Sharon|
|Minister of Defense|
18 June 2007 –18 March 2013
|Prime Minister|| Ehud Olmert |
|Preceded by||Amir Peretz|
|Succeeded by||Moshe Ya'alon|
6 July 1999 –7 March 2001
|Preceded by||Moshe Arens|
|Succeeded by||Binyamin Ben-Eliezer|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
22 November 1995 –18 June 1996
|Prime Minister||Shimon Peres|
|Preceded by||Shimon Peres|
|Succeeded by||David Levy|
|Chief of General Staff|
1 April 1991 –1 January 1995
|President|| Chaim Herzog |
|Prime Minister|| Yitzhak Shamir |
|Deputy|| Amnon Lipkin-Shahak |
|Minister|| Moshe Arens |
|Preceded by||Dan Shomron|
|Succeeded by||Amnon Lipkin-Shahak|
12 February 1942
|Political party||Israel Democratic Party|
| Labor Party (until 2011)|
|Spouse(s)||Nava Cohen (1968–2003; divorced)|
Nili Priel (since 2007)
|Alma mater|| Hebrew University of Jerusalem |
|Awards|| Medal of Distinguished Service |
Legion of Merit
DoD Medal for Distinguished Public Service
|Years of service||1959–1995|
|Commands|| Chief of General Staff |
Deputy Chief of General Staff
Military Intelligence Directorate Aman
|Battles/wars|| Six-Day War |
Yom Kippur War
Ehud Barak (Hebrew :
Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel, the modern version of which is spoken by over nine million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name "Hebrew" in the Tanakh itself. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only Canaanite language still spoken, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and chief executive of Israel.
A Rav Aluf (Lieutenant general) in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Barak is the joint most highly decorated soldier in Israel's history, having taken part in many battles and combat missions. Following a highly decorated career, he was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1991, serving until 1995. He is a graduate in physics, mathematics, and economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Stanford University.
The Israel Defense Forces, commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal, are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel; Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi has served as Chief of Staff since January 15, 2019.
A soldier is one who fights as part of an army. A soldier can be a conscripted or volunteer enlisted person, a non-commissioned officer, or an officer.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's second-oldest university, established in 1918, 30 years before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J. Safra Givat Ram campus.
Barak 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).
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle. A member of a kibbutz is called a kibbutznik.
Mishmar HaSharon is a kibbutz in central Israel. Located in the Sharon plain, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hefer Valley Regional Council. In 2018 it had a population of 606.
Mandatory Palestine was a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1923 in the region of Palestine under the terms of the "Mandate for Palestine".
His paternal grandparents, Frieda and Reuven Brog, were murdered in Pušalotas (Pushelat) in the northern Lithuania (then ruled by Russian Empire) in 1912, leaving his father orphaned at the age of two. Barak's maternal grandparents, Elka and Shmuel Godin, died at the Treblinka extermination camp during the Holocaust.
Pušalotas is a small town in Panevėžys County, in northeastern Lithuania. According to the 2011 census, the town has a population of 692 people.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is considered to be one of the Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, the other being Latvian.
The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
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 in Tiberias). They had three daughters together: Michal (born 9 August 1970), Yael (born 23 October 1974) and Anat (born 16 October 1981). He has grandchildren.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.
The Hebraization of surnames is the act of adopting a Hebrew surname in exchange for a diaspora name. For many diaspora Jews who migrated to the Land of Israel, taking a Hebrew surname was a way to erase remnants of their diaspora experience and to assimilate into a new shared identity with Mizrahi Jews and Palestinian Jews and later as Israeli Jews.
Tiberias is an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Established around 20 CE, it was named in honour of the second emperor of the Roman Empire, Tiberius. In 2018 it had a population of 44,234.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include: four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; and treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him have survived.
Barak earned his bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1968, and his master's degree in engineering-economic systems in 1978 from Stanford University, in California.
A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.
Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, selectivity, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.
Barak joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) 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 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 covert 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon 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 Air France aircraft hijacked by terrorists and forced to land at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. These highly acclaimed operations, along with Operation Bayonet, led to the dismantling of Palestinian terrorist cell Black September. It has been alluded that Barak also masterminded the Tunis Raid on 16 April 1988, in which PLO leader Abu Jihad was killed.
During the Yom Kippur War, Barak commanded an improvised regiment of tanks which, among other things, helped rescue paratrooper battalion 890, commanded by Yitzhak Mordechai, which was suffering heavy losses in the Battle of the Chinese Farm. He went on the command the 401st armored brigade and the 611st "Pillar of Fire" and 252nd "Sinai" divisions, before his appointment to head the IDF's Planning Directorate. Barak later 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 Nechemya 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.
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 [by the State of Israel] to keep hold of this area [the West Bank and Gaza] 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 Arafat and Bill Clinton in the summer of 2000, when the original 7 years mandate of the PNA expired, and just after Israel pulled out its last troops out of southern Lebanon in May 2000, the weeks-long Riots in October 2000 led to the killing of twelve Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian by Israel Police and one Jewish civilian by Israeli Arabs.
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 Israel to work as a senior advisor with United States-based Electronic Data Systems. He also partnered with a private equity company focused on "security-related" work.
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, Pennsylvania. He also established a company "Ehud Barak Limited" which is thought to have made over NIS 30 million.
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 Israel politics seemed to have failed. However, Peretz's hold on the Labor leadership proved unexpectedly shaky as he was badly damaged by negative views of his performance as Defense Minister during the 2006 Lebanon War, which was seen as something less than a success in Israel.
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".
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 Israel Defense Forces and its civilian leadership. The preliminary Winograd report released earlier this year laid most of the blame on Olmert for poorly planning, executing, and reviewing war strategies in the 2006 conflict against Hezbollah.
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[ when? ] reached an agreement under which Labor joined the governing coalition. Barak retained his position as Defense Minister.
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 that "an independent, strong, thriving and peaceful State of Israel is the vengeance of the dead."
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.
On 26 June 2019, Barak announced his return to politics and his intention to form a new party named Israel Democratic Party, intending to challenge Netanyahu in the upcoming September 2019 Israeli legislative election.
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 $1 million a year, and that from 2001–2007, he also earned more than a $1 million 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 of Ghana. You are received immediately." Barak confirmed that he has been received by these heads of state but denied earning money from opening doors for international business deals for Israeli and foreign corporations, and said he does not see any ethical or moral problems in his business activities. He further said there is no logic to demand of him, after "the natural process in democracy has ended" to not utilize the tools he accumulated in his career to secure his financial future. When asked if his financial worth is $10–15 million, Barak said "I'm not far from there."
Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz is an Israeli former soldier and politician. He joined the Israel Defense Forces in 1966 and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. He fought in the Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, 1982 Lebanon War, and Operation Entebbe with the paratroopers and Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit. In 1998 he became the sixteenth IDF's Chief of the General Staff, serving until 2002. He is of Iranian Jewish ancestry.
Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Beilin is an Israeli politician and scholar who has served in multiple ministerial and leadership positions in the Israeli government. Much of his political career was in the Labour Party. He also served as chairman of the Meretz-Yachad political party. After retiring from political life, Beilin founded 'Beilink', a business consultancy company. He also writes opinion pieces in Israeli papers Haaretz and Israel Hayom.
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as the 12th Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009 and before that as a cabinet minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006. Between his first and second stints as a cabinet member, he served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. After serving as PM he was sentenced to serve a prison term over convictions for accepting bribes and for obstruction of justice during his terms as mayor of Jerusalem and as trade minister.
David Levy is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1969 and 2006, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Minister of Housing and Construction and as a Minister without Portfolio. Although most of his time as a Knesset member was spent with Likud, he also led the breakaway Gesher faction, which formed part of Ehud Barak's Labor-led government between 1999 and 2001.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was an Iraqi-born Israeli politician and general. He served as a member of the Knesset between 1984 and 2014, and held several ministerial posts, including Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour; Minister of Defense; and Deputy Prime Minister.
Amir Peretz is an Israeli politician who currently serves as leader of the Labor Party, and as a member of the Knesset for the party. A Knesset member almost continuously since 1988, he has also served as Minister of Defence and Minister of Environmental Protection, as well as heading the Histadrut trade union federation between 1995 and 2006.
Haim Ramon is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1983 and 2009, and as both Vice Prime Minister and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office with responsibility for state policy.
Elections for the 17th Knesset were held in Israel on 28 March 2006. The voting resulted in a plurality of seats for the then-new Kadima party, followed by the Labor Party, and a major loss for the Likud party.
Elections for the 16th Knesset were held in Israel on 28 January 2003. The result was a resounding victory for Ariel Sharon's Likud.
Tziporah Malka "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli politician, diplomat, and lawyer. A former member of the Knesset and leader in the center-left political camp, Livni is a former Foreign Minister of Israel, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, and Leader of the Opposition. She is known for her efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Matan Vilnai is an Israeli politician and a former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). A former Knesset member and government minister, he was appointed ambassador to China in 2012.
Isaac 'Bougie' Herzog is an Israeli politician. He served as a member of the Knesset between 2003 and 2018 and held several ministerial posts, including Minister of Welfare and Social Services (2007–11). Formerly the chairman of the Labor Party, he served as the opposition leader from 2013 until 2018. In June 2018 he was elected Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and his term began on August 2018.
Efraim Sneh is an Israeli politician, physician, and a retired Brigadier General in the Israel Defense Forces. He was a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party between 1992 and 2008 and served in several ministerial posts. He currently heads the Yisrael Hazaka party, which he established in May 2008.
The Winograd Commission is an Israeli government-appointed commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, which investigated and drew lessons from the 2006 Lebanon War. The Committee had its first plenary session on 18 September 2006 and began summoning and hearing testimonies from witnesses on 2 November of that year. On 30 April 2007 the Commission released its preliminary report, harshly criticizing key decision-makers. At the same time, it has been praised as testimony to the fortitude of Israel's democracy and ability to self-criticize, impressing even Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The final Winograd Commission report was announced in Binyanei HaUma in Jerusalem on 30 January 2008.
The 2007 Israeli Labor Party leadership election was held on June 12, 2007, to elect a new leader for the Israeli Labor Party due to internal dissatisfaction with the incumbent chairman Amir Peretz. The winner was Ehud Barak.
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government. Had Olmert remained in office or had Livni formed a coalition government, the elections would have been scheduled for 2010 instead.
The thirty-first government of Israel was formed by Ehud Olmert on 4 May 2006, following Kadima's victory in the March elections. His coalition initially included the Labor Party, Shas and Gil, and held 67 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. The 11-seat Yisrael Beiteinu joined the coalition in November 2006, but left on 16 January 2008 in protest at peace talks with the Palestinian National Authority. With the inclusion of the Labor Party's Raleb Majadele as a Minister without Portfolio on 29 January 2007, it became the first Israeli cabinet to have a Muslim minister. The makeup of the coalition resulted in a center-left government.
Independence was a political party in Israel, that was launched by Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 17 January 2011, after he and four other Labor Party MKs seceded from the caucus. Upon secession, the faction stated that it aimed to establish itself as a separate "centrist, Zionist, and democratic" political party. It was founded on the vestiges of the Third Way party. Nine days after Barak announced his retirement from politics, it was made public that Independence would not take part in the 2013 Knesset elections.
Politics in Israel is dominated by Zionist parties. They traditionally fall into three camps, the first two being the largest: Labor Zionism, Revisionist Zionism and Religious Zionism. There are also several non-Zionist Orthodox religious parties, non-Zionist left-wing groups as well as non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Israeli Arab parties.
The 2019 Israeli Labor Party leadership election was held following the announcement of the resignation of Avi Gabbay as leader of the Labor Party on 7 June 2019, after almost two years as leader, which he led into its worst election result in its history during the April 2019 Israeli legislative election.
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| Prime Minister of Israel |
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Israeli Labor Party |
| Leader of the Israeli Labor Party |
| Leader of the Independence party |