Omer Bar-Lev

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Omer Bar-Lev
עומר בר לב.JPG
Date of birth (1953-10-02) 2 October 1953 (age 64)
Place of birth Haifa, Israel
Knessets 19, 20
Faction represented in Knesset
2013–2015 Labor Party
2015– Zionist Union

Israel Omer Barlev (Hebrew: עומר בר-לב‎; born 2 October 1953) is an Israeli politician. A member of the Labor Party, he was placed seventh on the party's list for the 2013 Knesset elections and serves as the Party's point person on issues of peace and defense.[1] Bar-Lev is a IDF reserve officer with the rank of colonel (Aluf mishne), that was the commander of Sayeret Matkal between 1984-1987.


Born in Haifa to former IDF Chief of Staff and government minister Haim Bar-lev, Omer was drafted in 1971 and went on to command Israel's most elite special forces unit Sayeret Matkal and later the Jordan Valley Brigade. During his service in Sayeret Matkal, Barlev took part in famous operations like those at the Savoy Hotel and in Entebbe. In the early 1990s, Barlev served as a member of the IDF's negotiations with the Palestinians that led to the Gaza–Jericho Agreement and later to the negotiations that led to the Israel–Jordan peace treaty.[2]

Over the span of his military career, which lasted from 1971-1994, Barlev left the IDF twice. In the late 1970s, Barlev studied Agronomy and Agriculture at the Hebrew University's Faculty of Agriculture at Rehovot, and received his B.Sc. in 1980. After commanding Sayeret Matkal, Barlev left the Army again in 1987 in order to study for his master's degree in International Relations at Tel Aviv University.[3] As part of his M.A. studies, Barlev wrote a thesis on potential security arrangements with Syria which later became the book entitled Security Arrangements in the Golan for the Age of Modern Warfare. He also joined a group of reserve soldiers who, in 1978, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Menachem Begin urging him to sign a peace deal with Egypt.[4] After retiring from the IDF in 1994 with the rank of Colonel, Barlev became a technology entrepreneur and social activist. Among other positions, he was from 2001-2013 the Founder and CEO of Paieon Inc., a medical imaging company. After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Mr. Barlev joined the organization "Generation of Peace," and within this framework founded the movement "Acharai," a slogan used in the IDF to mean "Follow me" and is used to galvanize a group towards a common goal. Acharai works to empower marginalized Israeli youth and educate them in democracy and Zionism. Over the past 15 years Acharai worked with some 20,000 youth and today enrolls about 4,000 participants in its programs annually.[5]

In 2012, Barlev decided to run for Knesset with the Israeli Labor Party and was chosen as the number seven on its candidates list.[6] With the 2013 national elections, in which Labor won 15 seats, Barlev became a Member of the 19th Knesset which was formed as a result of those elections. He serves as a Member on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, A Member of the Ad-hoc Committee for the "Equal Sharing of the Burden" Bill, Chair of the Lobby for Advancement of Youth on the Periphery, Chair of the Lobby for the Promotion of the Needs of the Bedouin Population, and Co-Chair of the Agricultural Lobby.[7] In 2013, Omer Barlev published "It's in Our Hands," a political initiative with proposals for both bilateral and independent moves that Israel should take to maintain its democratic and Jewish character. The plan reiterates the urgency of reaching a political solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, and suggests several innovative solutions to sticking points in previous negotiations, for example mutual land-leases between Israel and the PA to address security and resource concerns. However the plan argues that in the event that negotiations fail, Israel must take proactive steps to maintain its identity. To this end, Barlev proposes a series of partial Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank aimed at minimizing the number of Palestinians living under IDF military rule and transferring responsibility for those areas to the PA.[8]


  1. ^ Labor Party Central Elections Committee (in Hebrew)
  2. ^ Biography on the Labor Party website (Hebrew)
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Israel can't afford to do nothing says Labor's new defense man Times of Israel, 2 January 2013
  5. ^ (Hebrew)
  6. ^ A Labor candidate for Knesset without much to say, meet Omer Bar-Lev Haaretz, 11 January 2013
  7. ^ [2] Official Knesset Page
  8. ^ Pushing Peace on the Palestinians New York Times, 19 November 2013

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