Ehud Barak

(1942- ) A Jewish Israeli military and political figure. Barak joined the Israeli army in 1959, reaching the position of Chief of Staff – Israel’s top military leader - in 1991. As Chief of Staff, he was involved in finalizing the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty in 1994 as well as implementing the 1994 Gaza-Jericho agreement as part of the Oslo Accords. A member of the Labor party, Barak entered politics in 1995 and first served as Minister of the Interior and then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1995-1996. He was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1999 and participated in the Camp David II Talks with the Palestinian Authority in the summer of 2000, the failure of which ultimately led (according to many analysts) to the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Barak left politics for four years after the Likud party’s Ariel Sharon defeated him in special prime ministerial elections in February 2001. In June 2007, he was elected to head the Labor party and was appointed Minister of Defense. Barak broke away from the Labor party in 2011, along with four other Labor party ministers, to form the Independence party. Barak announced his departure from electoral politics in November 2012. See "Ehud Barak quits Israel’s Labour to form new party," BBC, January 17, 2011.

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