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Barak confirms departure as Bibi starts on coalition

- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2013

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he won't be a part of the newly formed governing coalition, and he is exiting political life for at least five years, as planned.

"I have already told the public and the prime minister," Mr. Barak said, in a televised CNN interview, "that I'm not going to join. I'm going to leave political life for at least the next five years."

At the same time, Israeli media reported, Mr. Barak is not completely shutting doors.

"You can never say never," he said, in an Israel National News report. "I cannot refuse to contemplate" political office if duty calls.

The conflicting statements come at a time when newly reelected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to form a unified government serving a broad range of political interests. Mr. Netanyahu just offered Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid a choice of cabinet positions at either foreign defense or finance, according to Ynet News.

Yesh Atid came in second in the general election, with 19 seats of the 120 in the Knesset.

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