Barak, Ehud

(1942- )
   Born as Ehud Brog in Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, his parents immigrated to Palestine in the 1930s from Lithuania and Poland. He enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1959, was schooled in various military education courses, and held a number of significant military assignments. He pursued undergraduate studies in physics and mathematics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master's degree from Stanford University in California in systems analysis. He served as director of military intelligence (1985-86) and later as deputy chief of staff of the IDF beginning in May 1987. He became chief of staff in April 1991, retired from the IDF in 1994, and immediately entered Israel Labor Party politics. Yitzhak Rabin appointed him minister of the interior, and he became foreign minister in the Shimon Peres-led government established following Rabin's assassination. In June 1997, he replaced Peres as Labor Party chairman. As the leader of the expanded One Israel Party, Barak was elected prime minister on 17 May 1999, defeating Benjamin Netanyahu. On 6 July1999, he presented his governing coalition before the Knesset for ratification, with himself serving as prime minister and defense minister, and acting minister of agriculture.
   As prime minister, Barak set out an ambitious program, especially in the diplomatic arena. With Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, he set 13 February 2000 as the target date for preparing a Framework Agreement for an Israeli-Palestinian permanent peace agreement. Barak reaffirmed his campaign pledge to withdraw the IDF from its south Lebanon security zone within one year of taking office. Barak participated in formal talks (in Washington, DC, and Shep-herdstown, West Virginia) with Syria's foreign minister Farouk al-Sharaa, while reiterating his commitment to hold a national referendum on a final agreement affecting the status of the Golan Heights. When Barak's efforts (with president of the United States William J. Bill Clinton's assistance) to persuade Syria's Hafez al-Assad to participate in a broader regional settlement involving Lebanon failed, Barak withdrew the IDF unilaterally from southern Lebanon on 24 May 2000.
   At Camp David, Maryland, in July 2000, Barak and Arafat met in a summit with Clinton; in an effort to force Arafat's hand, Barak offered unprecedented territorial concessions in exchange for an "end of conflict" agreement from the Palestinians. Barak's deal was rejected by Arafat. Ironically, what Arafat viewed as "insufficient," most members of Barak's own governing coalition viewed as "reckless." In the hopes of saving his government, Barak took the unprecedented constitutional step of simultaneously resigning and calling for a snap new direct election for prime minister and initiating a new round of diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians amid the upsurge of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis associated with the Al-Aksa intifada. Despite Clinton's "bridging ideas," the Taba talks (December 2000-January 2001) that continued until the eve of the February 2001 election failed to produce the diplomatic breakthrough with the Palestinians that Barak needed to save his government.
   In the direct election for prime minister held on 6 February 2001, Barak was soundly defeated by Likud leader Ariel Sharon (62.3 percent to 37.6 percent). Barak immediately resigned as One Israel Party leader and as member of the Knesset (MK). He did not seek election (see KNESSET ELECTIONS) to the 16th Knesset in 2003 but remained actively engaged in Labor Party politics and Israeli foreign and security affairs. Barak withdrew from the Labor Party leadership race that was ultimately won by Amir Peretz on 9 November 2005.
   Barak was reelected leader of the Israel Labor Party on 13 June 2007, taking 51.3 percent of the vote in a leadership primary, compared to 47.7 percent for Labor MK and former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon. Barak subsequently replaced Peretz as defense minister in the Kadima-led coalition government headed by Ehud Olmert.
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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  • BARAK, EHUD — (1942– ), Israeli military commander and politician; member of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Knessets and prime minister of Israel. Barak was born in Kibbutz mishmar ha sharon . He joined the IDF in 1959, beginning his military service in the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Barak, Ehud — ▪ 2000       On May 17, 1999, Ehud Barak won a commanding victory in Israeli national elections to become the country s new prime minister. At the head of a Labor dominated coalition, he defeated ruling Likud prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.… …   Universalium

  • Barak,Ehud — Ba·rak (bə räkʹ), Ehud. Born 1942. Israeli politician. He ended a 35 year military career to enter politics, joining the Labor Party in 1995 and serving that year as interior minister, then foreign minister. He was elected as Israel s prime… …   Universalium

  • Barak, Ehud — ► (n. 1942) Militar y político israelí. En 1995 entró a formar parte del gobierno de Rabin como ministro del interior. En 1999 venció a Benjamin Netaniahu en las elecciones y fue proclamado primer ministro de Israel. Perdió el cargo en las… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Ehud Barak — Ehud Barak, 2009 Ehud Barak (hebräisch ‏אהוד ברק‎; * 12. Februar 1942 im Kibbuz Mischmar haScharon als Ehud Brog) ist ein israelischer Politiker und ehemaliger Gene …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ehud Olmert — bei einer Rede in São Paulo, 2005 (Antonio Milena/ABr) Ehud Olmert (hebräisch ‏אהוד אולמרט‎; * 30. September 1945 in Binjamina) ist ein israelischer Politik …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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