[QODLink]
Middle East
Profile: Tzipi Livni
Israel's second woman foreign minister has ambitions to become second woman PM.
Last Modified: 03 May 2007 13:42 GMT

Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister [AFP]
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, has called on Ehud Olmert to resign the post of prime minister and said she would seek to take over as leader of the Kadima party.

 

She said: "Kadima needs to choose its leadership in a democratic manner ... and when the time comes I plan to submit my candidacy.

 

"Now is the time to restore the public's trust in the government."

 

Livni, born in Tel Aviv on July 8, 1958, is a leading member of the Kadima Party, the largest party in the Israeli parliament.

 

She is Israel's second woman foreign minister, after the late Golda Meir. And many Israelis would like to see her, like Meir a generation ago, go on to become prime minister.

 

She has largely eluded the scandals that plague Olmert and other senior ministers, and has also escaped domestic recrimination over last summer's war in Lebanon.

 

Pragmatic stance

 

Livni comes from a well-known "ultranationalist" family but has endorsed withdrawal from some occupied Palestinian lands as a pragmatic way to preserve Israel's Jewish majority - if not to achieve a peace agreement.

 

First elected to the Knesset as a member of the Likud party in 1999, her father, Eitan, led the armed underground group Irgun in the 1940s that fought for an exclusively Jewish homeland in Palestine and opposed partitioning the territory with Arabs.

 

Livni renounced any such views after defecting from Likud and joining Ariel Sharon, then prime minister, in forming Kadima in 2005.

 

She said: "I came to the painful realisation that if I have to choose between a Greater Israel and Israel continuing to be a Jewish and democratic country, I must choose the latter."

 

The married mother of two served as justice minister under Sharon, and was a key member of the team overseeing Israel's disengagement from Gaza.

 

Amotz Asa-El, a political analyst, said: "There is a leadership crisis in Israel, and Livni is seen as the possible answer.

 

"The modesty she evinces is an asset given the growing exasperation with a political establishment that is too macho in tone and often criminal in action."

 

Politically inexperienced

 

She came to politics just over a decade ago, following a stint in the Mossad foreign intelligence service - as a legal adviser, some say, while others speculate that she helped hunt Arab enemies abroad - and then a career as a corporate attorney.

 

At times outspoken, she once called Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, "irrelevant".

 

Critics suggest that, as premier, she would have to work hard to make up for matters of state where she lacks expertise.

 

Asa-El said: "Livni has proven herself in leadership situations but that is not the same as proving herself as a leader."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.