Earlier today, November 26, 2012,it was announced that the Israeli Defence Minister had resigned. Ehud Barak has had a long political career in Israel. He served as the country's Prime Minister between 1999 and 2001. In his announcement he confirmed that he would not be standing in the country's election in January 2013. 70-year-old Mr Barak has held the post of defence minister since 2007. He told reporters that "I want to study, to write, to live and have a good time,"
He is not simply leaving the government high and dry, and will continue in post until after the 2013 election. This will give whoever wins time to form a government and appoint a replacement.
It is fair to assume the the recent military confrontation between Gaza and Israel has played a part in the timing of his resignation. There are reports that Barak believes the military mission was successful and resigning now will see him leave the job on a high. He is certainly of an age when retirement is not unusual although in politics Ministers tend to work on much longer.
Mr Barak saw active military service in Israel between 1959 and 1995 as a member of the Israel Defense Forces or IDF. He was a notable member of many missions including "seeing action as an undercover commando, serving with distinction in the 1973 Middle East war and leading a military operation in 1972 against Palestinian militants from the Black September group who had seized a Sabena flight."
During his military career he and Benjamin Netanyahu, the current PM, at one time served alongside each other, or rather Netanyahu served under Barak. Prime Minister Netanyahou thanked Barak for, "his contribution to security of state".
In the recent 8-day conflict between Israelis and Palestinians at least 158 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.