Barak began his political career (1995) as interior minister in the cabinet of Yitzhak Rabin, his military and political mentor, and was (1995-96) foreign minister under Shimon Peres. He assumed leadership of the Labor party in 1997, decisively defeated the Likud prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1999, and formed a seven-party coalition government; three right-of-center parties pulled out of the government in 2000. Like Rabin, another soldier turned prime minister, Barak advocated a strong, peace-seeking, and inclusive Israel (under his leadership Labor was renamed the One Israel party) and avowed a willingness to make concessions to the Palestinians and to Arab states if necessary for peace and security.
After the breakdown of negotiations with the Palestinians and the resumption of violence (Sept., 2000), as well as the splintering of his coalition, Barak resigned (Dec., 2000) to force an early election for prime minister in an attempt to regain public support, but in Feb., 2001, he was soundly defeated by Likud candidate Ariel Sharon. After his electoral rout, Barak bowed out of politics. In 2007 he made a comeback when he won the leadership of the Labor party and became defense minister under Ehud Olmert, espousing more hard-line approach to Palestinian relations. Barak continued in the post in 2009 when a coalition led by Netanyahu and Likud took office.
See biography by I. Kfir (1999).
Ehud then tricked Eglon by saying he had a secret message intended for the king. Eglon sent all of his attendants away to hear the message, and Ehud drew his sword, saying, "I have a message from God for you," and stabbed the king. Eglon was eviscerated by the blow, which punctured his intestines: "and the dirt came out." ("Dirt" here euphemistically refers to excrement; NOAB, Judges 3:21-22, footnote.)
After killing Eglon, Ehud locked the doors to the king's chamber and left. Eglon's assistants came back to check on the king but when they found the doors locked they assumed the king was relieving himself. They "waited to the point of embarrassment" until they finally unlocked the door and went in, where they found their king dead. Ehud escaped during this time and made it to the town of Seriah. He then led the tribe of Ephraim to seize the fords of the Jordan River, where they killed about 10,000 Moabite soldiers.
Ehud can be looked at as the opposite of the later judge Samson. He was just a normal man who was strengthened by God to kill the king of Moab. After the death of Eglon, king of Moab, there was peace in the land for 80 years.
The name "Ehud" is not attested as a first name among Jews until the 20th Century. However, Zionism—as part of its nation-building process—strongly encouraged using the names of Jewish heroes and warriors of ancient times, including that of Ehud. As a result, it has become a common name in contemporary Israel.
Israelis named Ehud are often nicknamed "Udi."