ANALYSIS / Ehud Barak Is Really Nobody's Buddy

At Labor party's memorial for Yitzhak Rabin, Barak complained about Labor's tradition of ceaselessly undermining its leader.

Ehud Barak is really no one's buddy. Thursday night, at the party's memorial for the murdered Yitzhak Rabin, Barak complained about Labor's tradition of ceaselessly undermining its leader.

"Eternally subversive" was what Rabin called Shimon Peres - that same Peres with whom Barak has breakfast every Sunday before the cabinet meetings, and together they spill their shared bitterness about Netanyahu.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak -  Ofer Vaknin
Ofer Vaknin

Is this a way to make friends? One does not need to be a Peres expert to know for certain that the president was not comforted by the many painful reminders that Barak gave him of the personal electoral trauma that has haunted him for more than 30 years.

A full day of activity passed for the Labor Party. It was neither public or intellectual work, just the usual ritual of accusations, insults and slander about others.

Here are some of the claims made by party members against the others: Those close to Barak argued that the attack by the Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini on Barak ("the idiot" ) stems from Eini's close friendship with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. The army chief is mentioned as someone who may succeed Barak, and is waging total war against the defense minister over the Galant document affair.

According to Barak supporters, in the group of Eini and Ashkenazi there is a powerful business figure, the son of a public figure, who is considering also competing for the Labor leadership.

The IDF spokesman was quick to dismiss "the attempt to include the name of a serving chief of staff in political and party matters."

The spokesman claims that this only serves to undermine the trust of the people in the IDF. (Come on! After the Galant affair, this is what will undermine the trust of the people in the army? )

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, once the ultimate insider in Barak's circle, said that for a year now he has warned Barak against the Eini-Benjamin Ben-Eliezer axis. Simhon stopped warning him when relations soured over his candidacy to head the Jewish National Fund.

Other party sources mention how Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who had announced that he was looking for a savior from the outside, worked against three party heads during the last two decades: Peres, Amram Mitzna and Amir Peretz. Now the time has come for the fourth, Barak, and of new candidates: ministers Yitzhak Herzog and Avishay Braverman.

Herzog and Braverman have not yet managed to take the horns and Ben-Eliezer is already destroying them - his detractors claim. Moreover, he is aiming to become the eternal interim chairman of the party, or president of Israel, etc., etc., etc.

The targeted attack that Eini and Ben-Eliezer carried out against their party leader Wednesday caused a great deal of concern at the Prime Minister's Bureau. Senior figures there called senior figures in Labor to find out whether to expect a quick resignation. They were told to be calm: No quick resignation was expected. What is shared by Ben-Eliezer and Eini, in addition to the dislike they have for Barak, is their wish to remain part of the government.

Essentially, Ben-Eliezer did Barak a favor: By announcing that he does not support any of the candidates, he has given Barak at least a year as head of the party, without fearing a coup. After that - God is great and Ben-Eliezer will sort it out.

During an interview on Israel Radio with Ayala Hasson yesterday, Barak sounded troubled and angry. He acknowledged, for the first time, that the issue with the illegal foreign worker in his household was a "mistake," but also claimed that he and his wife are being treated harshly.

But it is hard to live in a glass tower, say that you are committed to the rule of law, and then ignore the law and expect to be treated kindly.