Livni, Tzipi (tsĭpˈpē lĭvˈnē) [key], 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Tzipi Livni from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Israeli History: Biographies