Livni, Tzipi

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LIVNI, TZIPI (1958– ), Israeli politician. Livni was born in Tel Aviv. Her father, Eitan Livni, was a member of Eẓel (*Irgun Ẓeva'i Le'ummi) and a member of the Knesset. A lieutenant in the idf, she subsequently served in the Mossad and received a law degree from Bar-Ilan University, entering private practice and specializing in commercial and constitutional law before being elected to the Knesset in 1999 as a Likud mk. Previously she had served as director-general of the Government Companies Authority, overseeing the process of privatization. In the Knesset she was a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women. In 2001–2, she served as minister of regional cooperation, minister without portfolio, and minister of agriculture. In February 2003, she was appointed minister of immigrant absorption, also becoming minister of housing and construction. In December 2004 she was appointed minister of justice and, in January 2006, minister of foreign affairs by Acting Prime Minister Ehud *Olmert, after leaving the Likud with Ariel *Sharon when he founded the Kadimah Party. A staunch supporter of Sharon's political positions, including the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in summer 2005, Livni proved to be a forthright and engaging spokesman for government policy, perceived by the public as a cut above the professional politician. The American press, too, was charmed by her during her visit to the U.S. in February 2006 for talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and an unscheduled meeting with President Bush, already billing her as the next Golda Meir.

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