(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak denied rumors that he is considering a return to politics.
“I left politics and moved to a private life and I don’t like making public appearances all the time and that’s why I didn’t make appearances,” Barak explained to Channel 1 News’s Ayala Hasson Friday night. “I’m not planning [to return to politics].”
As for rumors that Barak avoided the public eye for so long because he has Alzheimer’s Disease, he quipped: “I thought they would die on their own – the rumors, not the patient.”
Barak said he felt from people’s reactions that they were truly concerned about him.
“This is an opportunity to say there is nothing to it,” he added. “It could be that there are people who would like me to forget all kinds of things and they are expressing their wishes.”
As for why he did not appear in the media during Operation Protective Edge, Barak said that he didn’t think it would be appropriate for him, as a former IDF chief of staff, prime minister and defense minister, to comment on the current staff’s work.
Barak called for Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein to fully investigate the Harpaz Affair and said “the worst thing is the fact that this group acted in a way that is unprecedented in the IDF’s history and tried to disrupt processes that were [politicians’] responsibilities, while using criminal methods.”
As for the discovery of DVDs containing files potentially relating to the Harpaz Affair that Barak was accused of destroying, the former defense minister hinted that he may have been secretly recorded saying “we need to check who recorded them.
“These are legitimate conversations and anyone who listens to them will understand that the Defense Minister’s Office was managed immaculately,” he said.
The Harpaz Affair, an alleged 2010 plot by Lt.-Col.
(res.) Boaz Harpaz to illegally undermine then-defense minister Barak’s choice to succeed Ashkenazi as IDF chief of staff, as part of a more general battle between Barak and Ashkenazi involving both sides allegedly spying and spreading misinformation about the other.
“I’m angry about what happened, not because of me, but because of what happened to people like [Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav] Galant [whose nomination as IDF chief of staff was canceled]... and others who looked at death in the eyes more than once and found themselves sentenced to death by an unjustified obsession of the then-chief of staff [Ashkenazi] and his surroundings,” Barak said.Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.