Source close to Barak denies report that former prime minister mulling comeback

Al-Monitor says former PM intimated that there is currently no realistic challenger to Netanyahu from the Center-Left.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
October 21, 2014 09:46
2 minute read.
Ehud Barak

Ehud Barak. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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A source close to former prime minister Ehud Barak denied the Monday report in Al-Monitor that he was considering a political comeback.

“Never say never, but he [Barak] is not currently planning a political comeback,” the source said.

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The Al-Monitor report cited key Labor Party political activists who held a meeting with the former prime minister earlier this month.

Barak last served as defense minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last government, announcing his retirement from politics in November 2012. He had previously broken off from the Labor Party in January 2011, to form the Independence political party with four other Labor MKs.

Yossi Shriqui, the former head of Labor’s Netivot branch, organized the meeting at Barak’s Tel Aviv home. It was also attended by Pini Kabalo, described by Al-Monitor as one of the faction’s main field operatives.

According to the report, the meeting centered on the political implications of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Participants told Al-Monitor that Barak suggested there was no realistic challenger to Netanyahu from the Center-Left.

Furthermore, they said that Barak hinted that, along with former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, he was the only person who had proved capable of putting Labor in power at the expense of Likud by wooing right-wing voters.



Barak appeared interested in gauging the attitudes of Labor field operatives toward his return to the party after he ruffled some feathers by leaving the party to form Independence.

Following the meeting, Al-Monitor quoted Shriqui as saying, “Since Netanyahu has no rival with the necessary stature within Likud, or within the political center, or even in the Zionist Left, then the rational center must consolidate its forces and present a joint list based on common principles. That list would be headed by Barak, who has already proved that he knows how to defeat Bibi [Netanyahu].”

Shriqui said he believes that most Labor operatives would welcome Barak back into the party.

However, Al-Monitor quoted another senior Labor official as saying there was still bad blood between many in the party and their former leader.

“It looks to me like Barak wants us to come calling on him to be our savior, but that won’t happen. I understand that he is sending people out to the various mayors to find out if there is any possibility of arranging a comeback for him. Frankly, it all sounds delusional,” the official said.

Netanyahu has been working to advance the Likud leadership race in recent weeks, fueling speculation that he seeks to advance the next general election that is currently scheduled for 2017.

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