Yesh Atid brings security hawk on board

Ram Ben-Barak, former Mossad dep. chief and Director of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs ministries, joins Yesh Atid party.

Mordechai Sones,

Ram Ben Barak (L) with Yair Lapid
Ram Ben Barak (L) with Yair Lapid
Hezki Baruch

Former deputy head of Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, Ram Ben-Barak, announced Monday that he is joining the Yesh Atid party.

At the opening of today's party meeting, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid introduced Ben-Barak: "I am pleased to announce here today a newcomer to Yesh Atid: Ram Ben-Barak, the former deputy head of the Mossad, who will expand our defensive framework.

"Most of his life he has been in the shadow world of Israeli intelligence, and of course he is a well-known figure in the defense establishment. Ram Ben-Barak served 33 years at the Mossad. He led countless covert operations. He served as first deputy head of the Mossad, and as director general of the Intelligence Ministry. He brings with him to the national table strategic vision and operational experience that is almost unparalleled. He also brings a deep understanding of the Iranian issue, as well as the forces currently operating in Syria.

"Yesh Atid presents a governmental alternative. We have the best team in the country, both in terms of security, in the economic and social fields, and if elections were held tomorrow and we won, we're ready, I'm ready, the team is ready," Lapid added.

Many see the move as a Yesh Atid attempt to gain advantage over their Likud rivals by cultivating hawkish elements of the electorate. A recent poll showed that if elections were to be held at the time of polling, the Likud party would receive 25 Knesset seats, with Yesh Atid coming in a close second with 24 seats.

Ram Ben-Barak explained his decision to join the party: "I decided to use the experience I acquired and try to build a better place to live in. A state based on our most basic core values - a Jewish and democratic state - that preserves our identity without violating the rights of any of us, even if someone is a minority, even if he is different, and even if he thinks a little differently from us.

"When I debated which political framework to join, I was guided by two principles: First, to join a Zionist national party that recognizes Israel as the Jewish nation-state. The second, and no less important, is a party that maintains universal liberal values of equality and freedom, one that does not discriminate between citizens regardless of gender, religion, or race. A state where all its citizens are Israelis.

"To my delight, I found in the party headed by Yair Lapid a party that most closely matches my social, political, and security outlook and a party that precisely realizes the two goals that are important to me. The time has come for a change of leadership, and a return to the norms upon which the State was founded," he added.



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