Tzipora (Tzipi) Livni is currently Israel’s Foreign Minister and Minister of Justice. Livni is considered a rising star in Ariel Sharon’s center-right Kadima Party. She was appointed foreign minister by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in January 2006, becoming only the second female foreign minister of Israel, following Golda Meir decades earlier. Livni has expressed her support for Olmert as both acting prime minister and as Kadima’s leader.
Livni hails from a prominent Israeli political family. Her father and mother were both underground fighters for the establishment of the state of Israel, and she followed her father’s footsteps into the Knesset in 1999. She has been a strong supporter of Sharon and backed his Gaza Disengagement Plan in 2005.
She is often seen as both dovish and hawkish, being the first right-wing government official to speak at the yearly commemoration of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. She told The Washington Post in January 2006 that she believes in the creation of a Palestinian state as a solution to Israeli security, saying the disengagement plan was a necessary unilateral move because Palestinian leaders “didn’t implement their part.” Livni said the disengagement leaves Palestinians with no more excuses for terrorism and called upon the leadership to cooperate.
Livni served as a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces before graduating from Bar Ilan University’s Faculty of Law. Livni worked for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in the 1980s and later for the Government Companies Authority (1996 to 1999), in charge of the privatization of government corporations and monopolies. She is popular among Israelis, and in 2004, she received the Champion of Good Government Award.