Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak arives before delivering a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2019.
(photo credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak came out swinging in his hastily called news conference on Wednesday announcing his political comeback.
Using strong language to explain why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to go, Barak also accused the Blue and White Party of being soft on Netanyahu.
He admitted that he was planning on waiting longer to announce the party’s formation, but Netanyahu’s recent antics made him decide to call the news conference before he even came up with a name for the party.
Barak appeared to be bursting with excitement to appear before reporters in the flesh after seeing them only on social media for the past six and a half years.
He has long stopped being the general who has to think through every move strategically and tactically. Barak still is the politician, but not in the way politicians have evolved in the modern era.
It was very clear that Barak will not be politically correct. He commented on the genders of the reporters and where they were born. He said that the Haaretz political correspondent “looks fatter than he does on Twitter.”
Such comments may have at one point been commonplace in Israeli politics, but they are far from normal today.
Barak’s name in Hebrew means lightning. The nature of lightning is that it can strike at any time.
This could have either a positive or negative impact on Barak’s stated goal in returning to politics: unseating Netanyahu.
Barak could be the bad cop who attacks Netanyahu mercilessly while letting Benny Gantz be the good cop who stays clean. That could help carry Gantz to victory.
Or Barak’s lightning could strike Gantz, divide the Israeli Center-Left and give Netanyahu the spark he so badly needs.
Wednesday may end up being a turning point in the election – not because of the efforts to prevent the race, as may have been expected when the day began, but because that initiative expedited Barak’s comeback, making the election much more interesting.
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