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Barak becomes defense minister

Ehud Barak’s appointment as defense minister was ratified by the Knesset. The former Israeli prime minister assumed the key Cabinet post Monday following the parliament’s 46-22 vote. Barak replaces Amir Peretz, whose yearlong tenure was clouded by the failures of the Lebanon war.In a parting speech, Peretz said he had been “forced to pay for the foul-ups of the past” – a veiled reference to policy mistakes by previous, more experienced defense ministers. Barak, who served as prime minister and defense minister between 1999 and 2001, also ended the term of Peretz’s deputy, Efraim Sneh. He did not immediately name a replacement.