Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak has made a stunning political comeback.
Seven years after retiring Barak announced the establishment of a new party at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
In a passionate address Barak slammed Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for considering cancelling the forthcoming September elections.
“All Israeli citizens need to remember who was behind these elections,” he said Barak, adding it was “grave circumstances” that led to his return.
“The future of the Zionist movement is on the line here,” he added, before calling on Netanyahu to resign of his own accord before it is too late. As your former commander, I tell you, Netanyahu, you cannot continue, your time as a political leader is over.”
Barak was IDF’s 14th Chief of Staff from 1991 to 1995, prior to a political career in Labour, succeeding Shimon Peres after the 1996 electoral defeat.
He served until 2001 before losing to Likud leader Ariel Sharon in an election following the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
Barak defeated Netanyahu to become Prime Minister in 1999.
Appointed Defense Minister in 2007 under Ehud Olmert, Barak announced his retirement in 2012.
There were media reports former deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan was working with Barak to establish a party this week.
Golan addressed reporters at the conference condemning repeating attacks on the Israeli left.
Former Darkenu chair Kobi Richter and Gesher Party’s Yifat Bitton are expected to join the party.
It has also been reported former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni may also join.
Netanyahu has been evaluating options as party’s change political positions.
Polling data has illustrated the Israeli leader would be unable to form a coalition government if elections were held this month.
Such a scenario, analysts suggested, could prompt Netanyahu to cancel forthcoming elections and reform his government in a coalition with the Blue and White party.
But judicial officials have noted it is impossible to cancel a dissolution of the Knesset.
It was reported a Likud MK may submit a private members bill to enable a dissolution to be overturned.
Meantime, far-right Otzma Yehudit have pulled out of an agreement with United Right Party as a unified bloc in a Likud coalition government. Netanyahu backed a Otzma Yehudit-United Right combination but Yehudit’s Itamar Ben-Gvir said his party’s expectations had not been fulfilled.
In other political alliances, Otzma Yehudit are reportedly considering partnering with far-right factions, while MK Ayelet Shaked has to decide her political future.
Shaked has options including a return to the New Right party which she formed with Naftali Bennet, Bayit Yehudi and Zehut party. Polls suggest she has electoral appeal.
By Adam Moses