Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his thanks to former Defense Minister Ehud Barak for his cooperation in government and commitment to Israel's security, following Barak's announcement that he was resigning from political life
on Monday. Netanyahu added that he respects Barak's decision to resign.
In the wake of unrealized rumors that Barak was to join former foreign minister Tzipi Livni's yet-to-be-formed National Responsibility Party, Livni echoed Netanyahu's sentiment. Livni said she regrets Barak's resignation, adding that Israeli citizens owe him a lot.
Livni commented that despite their differences, she appreciated Barak's real concern for Israel's future and wished him every success in the new chapter of his life.
Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich also expressed regret following Barak's announcement.
Yacimovich said in a statement Barak was "highly regarded" in international security, commending his contribution to the army and national security as Israel's most decorated soldier, adding that he did more for the country's security than the Israeli public knows.
She wished Barak success, adding that she hoped he would continue to advise Israeli policy when needed.
However, not every politician was as melancholy as Yacimovich to see Barak leave the Knesset.
Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein described Barak as "the worst defense minister there ever was for Jewish settlement."
Today, he declared, is "the Likud's independence day," a play on the name of Barak's break-away party, Independence. Edelstein, however, said he won't be surprised if Barak takes the first opportunity available to find a reason to return to politics.
Meretz Chairman Zahava Gal-On added on Monday there is a certain symbolism that Ehud Barak resigned in the same week that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is to present the United Nations with his plan to upgrade the status of Palestine.
Following Ehud Barak's resignation from politics, Gal-On said: "It is ironic that the man who invented the spin 'no partner'...resigns the very week that same partner reaches out a peaceful hand to Israel and asks it to recognize it as a country."
Gal-On added that Barak played a "dual role" in the political system, saying that he was praised as a defender of extremism but often ended up being the leader of such measures.
The Meretz chairman stated that now Barak has left the political arena, it is our chance to "correct the historical damage" that he caused.
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