Newly- elected Labour Party chairman and former prime minister Ehud Barak is Israel’s new Defence Minister, replacing Amir Peretz. A former army general, he was elected head of the Labour party in 1996 and prime minister in 1999. He inaugurated peace negotiations with Syria and took part in the Camp David Summit aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both failed.
In January this year, Barak launched a bid to recapture the leadership of the Labour party in a letter acknowledging “mistakes” and “inexperience” during his tenure as prime minister. Labour is the main ally of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima in the coalition government.
On Tuesday, he won back the Labour leadership. Barak’s appointment is expected to receive final approval in the parliament on Monday.