Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is Israel’s most decorated soldier but was also the Prime Minister who once offered Yasser Arafat 98% of Jerusalem, announced his resignation Monday. Barak said he wants to spend more time with his family.
Barak’s Independence party, which was created after he quit the Labor party, looked as if it would not win enough votes to win seats in the Knesset. Barak has repeatedly approved middle-of-the-night expulsions of Jewish families from outposts and also blocked plans for Jews building new homes in Judea and Samaria.
Barak’s record as a soldier was sterling; he was a former IDF Chief of Staff and a highly decorated soldier, known for his daring stunts as an elite commando. In 1995 he was appointed Interior Minister by Yitzchak Rabin, later to be appointed Foreign Minister. In 1997, he headed the Labor Party, and backed by Bill Clinton, defeated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the 1999 elections.
Once installed as Prime Minister, he became a dove, offering Jerusalem to Arafat. He also ordered the IDF to retreat from the southern Lebanon security zone, which left Hezbollah in charge of Southern Lebanon. This crippled Israel in the Second Lebanon War, because its lack of on-the-ground intelligence led to much higher casualties.