(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak, who has told The Jerusalem Post on multiple occasions that he would not make a political comeback, appeared to indicate otherwise Wednesday in an interview with Channel 2.
Barak quoted a recent poll that found that a majority of secular Israelis prefer him to Netanyahu. He said that among the general population, less than 40% said they preferred Netanyahu and 35% said they did not know whom they preferred, even though Netanyahu is prime minister and he is just a private citizen.
“It is no secret that many people have been coming to me and telling me to come, organize and form something,” Barak said. “I don’t need people to woo me. I’m immodest enough to determine that when it comes to my record – experience; international recognition; and intimate awareness of security, diplomatic, and economic problems, I am more ready and qualified to lead Israel than all other candidates around – including Netanyahu, who cannot make decisions.”
Barak defended his frequent usage of Twitter, saying it was a comfortable way for him to speak directly to the public. He supported Labor leader Avi Gabbay in the July 4 party leadership race, but did not mention him in the portion of the interview that was broadcasted.
“Avi Gabbay has brought about a revolution in the Labor Party and could bring about a revolution in the country,” Barak said during the race. “It’s true that Gabbay needs more experience if he is to persuade concerned Israelis that he can lead them, but that will happen.”
But Gabbay has faced criticism privately from MKs in his party who are upset at him for saying that “the Left has forgotten to be Jewish.”
Barak opted to not run in the primary.
But his associates said that if he is approached by Labor and other parties in the Center and Left to lead a bloc that will challenge Likud in the next election, he would have a tough time turning down such an offer.
To that end, a group of longtime Barak aides and allies formed a nonprofit organization that could be used as a platform for a future Barak run. Haaretz reported Monday that the organization was registered by former Barak aides Oshi Elmaliah and Dana Zaidman and by Barak’s niece Tal Brog.
The organization is called “Achrayut Leumit – Yisrael Habayit Sheli” (Hebrew for “national responsibility – Israel is my home”).
One of the people involved denied that it was intended to serve as a platform for Barak or that it would ever run as a party.
The source said Barak could revive his former Independence Party if he decided to run.