Ehud Barak Denies Alzheimer's Rumors, Suggests He May Have Been Secretly Recorded

Former defense minister says recently discovered recordings would be legitimate only if they accord with the documentation of conversations in his bureau.

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Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and ex-IDF Chief Gabi Ashkenazi
Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and ex-IDF Chief Gabi AshkenaziCredit: Archive / Alon Ron
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Haaretz

Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak denied rumors that he has Alzheimer's in an interview on Friday night, joking that "there could be people who would be happy if I forgot all sorts of things."

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, characterized initially by short-, and later long-term memory loss.

"There is no problem," Barak said in an interview with Channel 1 TV. "At first I thought it would die naturally – the story, not the patient – then I was swamped by empathy, which made me feel very good," he said humorously.

In the interview, Barak also addressed the recent discovery of DVDs that are said to contain recordings of conversation in his bureau at the Defense Ministry. He said that if the recorded discussions were noted in the bureau's written documentations, they would be "legitimate conversations" attesting to proper conduct. Otherwise, he said, the ministry would need to investigate who made them.

Observers have speculated that the recordings are connected to the so-called Harpaz affair, in which former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and some associates reportedly tried to block Barak's appointment of Ashkenazi's replacement.

"It is very sad to see the extent to which the behavior of the former chief of staff and his associates degenerated," Barak said. "Borderline criminality – the police might say amongst themselves – in order to achieve aims that are illegitimate in a democracy. Those are things that belong in the Third World."

Barak accused two senior defense officials – Amir Kin, currently head of physical security for the defense establishment, and Avichai Mendelblit, currently cabinet secretary and previously the military Judge Advocate General – of collaborating with Ashkenazi.

"I don't understand why they are still in their posts," he added.

Responding to questions about life after politics, the former defense minister said that he has founded a company providing strategic consulting and that he spent a lot of time outside Israel. He explained that he had not thought it right to give media interviews during the recent war in Gaza.

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