Reports once again proliferated over the weekend that former prime minister Ehud Barak was mulling the formation of a new political party to run in September’s second elections of 2019.
Reports on Israel’s three major news networks said Barak was looking at several possible figures to join up with, including former leader of the Hatnua party Tzipi Livni, former Likud minister Dan Meridor and the daughter of the late spiritual leader of Shas Ovadia Yosef, Adina Bar-Shalom.
Barak also met this week with former deputy IDF chief of staff Yair Golan to discuss possible cooperation, according to reports on Channel 13 and public broadcast Kan. Though he has yet to announce an intention to enter the September race, Golan has already been floated as a possible candidate for leadership of the Labor party following Avi Gabbay’s decision to step down.
The reports said Barak, who twice served as leader of the Labor party, would seek to form a bloc including his prospective party and Labor.
Rumors of Barak’s intentions to reenter politics have long been gestating. Though he served as defense minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government between 2009-2013 — even breaking up Labor in 2011 and forming the short-lived Independence party to remain in the cabinet — Barak in recent years has become one of Netanyahu’s fiercest critics.
Barak had previously been reported to have sent out feelers to Labor Knesset members seeking their support for him to temporarily run the struggling party for a year and see it through the elections.
It is not the first time Barak, 77, has considered a political comeback. The former premier and army chief has tested the waters several times over the years and hinted last December that he would run if a center-left political bloc was formed, but ended up sitting out April’s elections. Labor was ultimately decimated in that vote, dropping to its worst-ever total of six seats.