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Monday, November 26, 2012
Transcript: DM Ehud Barak Announces Post-Election Retirement

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: The gross failure of the political reporters to
get the story right in the items they filed between the announcement of the
press conference and DM Barak's actual statement (they expected he was going
to announce his immediate resignation and that he was running with Livni or
some other configuration) serves as a warning to readers that reporters
don't necessarily know what is actually going on despite their inside
sources.

Take note: In the Q&A DM Barak declined to rule out that he would accept
appointment as DM in the next government.]

DM Ehud Barak Announces Post-Election Retirement
(Communicated by Josh Hantman, International Media Advisor, MOD
dover@mod.gov.il

Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the following remarks this morning
(Monday, 26 December 2012):

"Good morning everyone,

he State of Israel has experienced some tough times during the past two
weeks, and I am proud to be part of the team that directed Operation Pillar
of Defense, both militarily and diplomatically, to its successful
conclusion. Fifty three years ago, in November 1959, I enlisted to the IDF
and for forty seven years, I have served the people of Israel to the best of
my ability. Today I stand before you to tell you about my decision to
retire from political life, instead of running in the upcoming Knesset
election. I took this decision not without doubts, but ultimately with a
whole heart.

I would be lying if I said that the warmth that I felt from the public, and
even the positive coverage that I received from some of you [journalists]
not of course from all of you did not please me. For someone who has not
always been spoiled with this [positive media coverage], I know how to
appreciate support and was glad to receive it.

Practically, I will finish in my role as defense minister with the formation
of the new government in approximately three months. This is the
culmination of seven and a half years in this office, two terms under three
governments, one of which I was at the head. Years in which, along with
others, I led the defense establishment and the IDF, through the
rehabilitation after the Second Lebanon War, strengthening our 'long arm'
and building our operational capabilities to cope with the Iranian threat
for if and when a decision should be made, pushing through the 'Iron Dome'
and the multi-layer interception system. And no less important, we secured
the nature and depth of the relationship with the US in the operational,
political and intelligence spheres.

I am proud that in the last year and a half, alongside important operational
achievements, a real spirit of openness and clarity of opinion has returned
to the IDF; quiet confidence and modesty, things that have been damaged from
time to time in the past.

We restored the essential elements of the ethical code and an uncompromising
acceptance of the democratic foundations of our lives here; understanding
and internalizing the subordination of the military to the political.

The decision to retire stems from the fact that I want to spend more time
with my family, that I have exhausted the practice of politics something
for which I never had any special desire in the first place and that the
fact that there is space to allow for new people to enter senior positions
in Israeli politics. Replacing the [personnel] in positions of power is a
good thing.

There are many ways to contribute to society and the country; not only
politics.

As a former chief of staff and prime minister, as well as the current
defense minister, and as long as my council is sought after and received,
then I will present it before the prime minister and the heads of the
establishment on any diplomatic or military matter, as and when I am
requested to do so.

I would like to thank with all my heart the commanders of the IDF, the
soldiers in the reserves and of the regular army, the personnel of the
ministry of defense and the intelligence establishment, for enabling me to
function successfully as minister of defense.

I am proud to stand at the head of [a network of] such wonderful people. I
would like to thank the prime minister, members of the government, my
devoted friends in the leadership and ranks of the Independence Party, who
have all provided me with strength during long hours, every day, with many
tough tasks. Thank you to everyone.

For the next three months, we will continue to tackle every challenge
together, and I promise you, there will be many challenges."

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