Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his resignation Monday, saying he will quit politics in January to spend more time with his family.
His resignation comes at a highly delicate time for Israel, which is observing a fragile cease-fire with the militant Palestinian group Hamas after an eight-day conflict that killed more than 160 people -- the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians in Gaza.
The Palestinians are not exactly sad to see the guy go, either. And speculation that Barak would try to revive the center-left Kadima coalition, well that's right out too.
Some Israeli political commentators had speculated ahead of the announcement that Barak was planning to quit the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new center-left party.But Barak told reporters that new faces in leadership roles would benefit Israel."I feel it is important that other people should take leading positions in Israel. Changes in the position of power are a good thing. There are many ways to contribute to the society and the country, and not necessarily through politics," he said.Barak served as defense minister under former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert between 2007 and 2009, and retained the post under Netanyahu from 2009 until the present. He also held the title of deputy prime minister for both administrations.
I'm thinking anyone who ends up in the post after Barak at this point is most likely not going to be less militant or less "blow up Palestinians every couple of years to make a point". We'll see where this goes. Barak will stay on through January, but he's out after that. Considering we're back into "Iran is only months away from a nuke" mode, whoever does replace him will have a pretty full plate, especially if Netanyahu retains his office as I expect he will.