Livni, Tzipi

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Livni, Tzipi

Tzipi Livni (Tziporah Malkah Livni) (tsĬp´pē lĬv´nē), 1958–, Israeli politican, b. Tel Aviv. The daughter of Polish immigrants, both members of the violent Irgun militia, Livni served in the Israeli army, worked for Israeli intelligence in Paris, and later (1984–96) practiced law. She was elected to the Knesset in 1999 as a member of the conservative Likud party. In 2005 she was named justice minister by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. That same year they both broke with Likud and were among the founders of the more centrist Kadima party. Originally a hard-line proponent of Israel's absolute right to the West Bank and Gaza, she came to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. She facilitated Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and led peace talks with Palestinians. When Ehud Olmert became prime minister (2006), she was appointed foreign minister. Olmert resigned in 2008 and Livni was narrowly elected party leader, but she failed to become prime minister when she was unable to form a new governing coalition. She was defeated for the party leadership in 2012 by former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, and subsequently resigned from the Knesset. In 2013 she was again won a Knesset seat, after forming a new centrist party, Hatnua, and became justice minister in a coalition government header by Benjamin Netanyahu. Political tensions between Livni and Netanyahu led to her dismissal in 2014.

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