Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a strong voice on the Iranian nuclear threat, said on Monday that he would soon be leaving political life after a long career that included two years as prime minister, The New York Times reports.

With the political clout of his new Independence Party waning in recent years, and with elections approaching in six weeks, Barak decided to leave before a potentially embarrassing election that could leave the party without a single seat in the parliament, The Times reported.

"I came to this decision not without misgivings but in the end a whole heart," Barak said at a news conference in Tel Aviv, according to The Times. "I would be concealing the whole truth if I did not say that the warmth that I feel from the public — favorable coverage from some of you, in recent days — wasn't nice. As someone who has not been indulged in that way usually, I know how to appreciate this and rejoice in it."

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