WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The board of trustees of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Friday named former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as a Distinguished Statesman at CSIS.
In this capacity, Barak will provide insight to CSIS on developments in Israel and the Middle East, as well as on broader issues involving the world's struggle against terror, security-related implications, and international diplomacy and leadership.
Barak retired as chief of staff of the Israeli army in 1995 after a 35-year military career and joined the Labor Party as a protégé of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. He served briefly as interior minister under Rabin, and as foreign minister under Rabin's successor Shimon Peres. Four years later he was elected as prime minister of Israel and served from 1999 to 2001.
Israel's most decorated soldier, Barak enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces, the IDF, at age 17. In 1972 he led an elite commando unit in successfully storming a Belgian airliner hijacked by Palestinian guerrillas at Tel Aviv Airport. In 1982, he was appointed head of the IDF intelligence branch. He was appointed commander of the IDF central command in 1986, appointed deputy chief-of-staff in 1987, and in 1991 assumed the post of chief of general staff with the rank of lieutenant general, the highest in the Israeli military.
Barak was a visiting research fellow at CSIS in the spring of 1995.
"Ehud Barak brings to CSIS an enormous amount of insight on a tremendously complex and volatile areas of the world," said former Senator Sam Nunn, chairman of the board of CSIS. "His significant first-hand leadership experience in Middle East issues, fighting against terror, and his unique perspective will be invaluable to our efforts to cover events in the region."