Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak addressed a crowd of more than 200 people at Temple Israel on Tuesday night. An online audience of 100 also watched his remarks. / Photos by Gretchen Webster

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Ehud Barak, a former prime minister of Israel, spoke to an audience of more than 200 people at Temple Israel on Tuesday night.

“It’s a tremendous event for the life of our congregation,” Senior Rabbi Michael Friedman said before Barak’s talk. “Never has a head of state or former prime minister of the state of Israel come to Temple Israel … it is truly an honor and a landmark event for our congregation.”

Barak served his nation in many leadership roles — as prime minister from 1999 to 2001, following a long career in the military during which he became the most decorated soldier in the history of the Israel Defense Forces, Friedman said.  He was also the minister of foreign affairs and minister of the interior in Israel before retiring from politics.

Barak spoke about the challenges of establishing peace in the Israeli/Palestinian region, dating to the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995. 

He said that Israel should have short- and long-term goals, and that he believes in the long term there should be a two-state system in the region to maintain stability.

An audience of more than 200 people turned out Tuesday to hear former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak speak at Temple Israel. / Photos by Gretchen Webster
Among those in Tuesday’s audience at Temple Israel to hear former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak were Police Chief Foti Koskinas and First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker.

“You can never say nothing will change,” he said.

Barak also spoke about Iran and the dangers he said that nation poses to the region. 

He predicted that Iran will develop nuclear weapons within the next year or two.

Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist and journalism teacher for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman newspaper for 10 years and currently teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.