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The Cross of Bethlehem

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Israel Former FM Hands Victory to Netanyahu

But a woman's got to do what a man's got to do.Tzipi Livni



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A few weeks before the elections, Israel's political arena is boiling under an oddly burning winter sun. On November 27, 2012, Former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Livni, announced that she will run as the leader of a new party. On March 27, three and half years after she barely won the leadership of Ariel Sharon's Kadima Party, she lost it to her contender in the last two party elections, former IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz. Although Kadima won the most seats in the 2009 elections under her leadership, it became the leading opposition party to the actual Likud-led coalitional government. After her defeat, she renounced her seat in the Knesset and left Kadima. In recent weeks, she proposed that Shimon Peres run for Israel's top political position; showing his infinite mercy on us, he declined. Indefatigable, she created one more political joke in the ongoing campaign by naming her new party "HaT'nua," namely "the movement." It also means "the vowel," thus she presented herself as a useless addendum in a society that uses a consonant-oriented language. Joking aside, the rather vague name makes allusion to "HaMossad," Israel's version of British MI6. This short form of the official name means just "the foundation." This double vagueness is nonetheless a strong reminder that Livni was a Mossad agent.

Tzipi Livini

Tzipi Livini

Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz

The Warring Family

Out of nowhere, Tsipi Livni was elected as a member of the Knesset for the Likud party, in the general elections held on May 17, 1999. Her sudden appearance there was enough to prove her credentials to the Israeli public. Any formal mention that she was Mossad would have been superfluous; reliable rumors appeared in the newspapers claiming that she had been a low-ranking Mossad agent. In the Israeli jargon, the statement was clear. She had not been an officer like Victor Ostrovsky and probably held a position similar to the one of "Cindy," the code name for Mossad agent Cheryl Bentov. The latter, posing as a bar-girl, played a key-role in the kidnapping of Mordechai Vanunu by Israel in 1986. Bar-girl or not, in Israeli political life, a Mossad agent has the right (or maybe the information needed to blackmail others) to bypass the regular political path and to land as a prince in parliament, right next to the top.

"Etzel" is the Hebrew acronym for "HaIrgun HaTzvai HaLeumi BeEretz Israel," the "National Military Organization in the Land of Israel." It is part of what it is referred to in Hebrew as "HaMishpaha HaLohemet," literally meaning the "Warring Family." Widely known for its violent attacks against innocents, like the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem (1946) and the Dir Yassin Massacre (1948), it became the predecessor of the Herut (“Freedom,” now Likud) party. Worryingly, both of Livni's parents were prominent members of the Warring Family. Eitan Livni—her father—was Etzel's Chief Operations Officer. He married Sara Rosenberg—a fellow member of the organization—in what became the first official marriage in the State of Israel. Tsipi Livni grew up among people that in modern terms would be classified as "terrorists," and became a princess parachuted into Israel's top political echelons. Between 2006 and 2009, in Ehud Olmert's government, she served as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tzipi Livni at the World Economic Forum, Davos

Tzipi Livni at the World Economic Forum, Davos | Parachuted by the Warring Family


A woman's got to do what a man's got to do...

During the press conference in which she announced her decision, Livni said "I have come to fight for peace, and I will not give my hand to those who try to turn the word peace into a dirty one, I decided not to give up. There has to be an alternative in Israel's elections." Afterwards, she added "this wasn't, personally speaking, an easy decision to make, but a woman's got to do what a man's got to do." This was an odd attempt to turn the issue into a feminist one; her claim is baseless, Labor's current leader is a woman.

Tzipi Livni: Foiled Thinking

Tzipi Livni: Foiled Thinking

In another strange statement, she said "the same government that refused to say the words 'two states' is accepting two Palestinian states, one in the UN, against our wishes, and a Hamas state in Gaza." In her foiled thinking, which is based on personal considerations, she might have given victory to Netanyahu. Right now, she engaged in the splitting of Kadima. To achieve that, she must enlist at least seven current MKs to cross over to her new party. A Kadima official said "14 Kadima MKs contacted Livni, asking to join her party. But Livni isn't interested in anything. She'll have the last say on who of the MKs will join." "As soon as the announcement is made, the MKs will meet and sign a document to request the split from Knesset Speaker. The split will go into effect by Wednesday morning," the official added.

The boldest move towards the upcoming election came until now from Benjamin Netanyahu. On October 25, he and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman announced that their parties—Likud and Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) respectively—will run as a single list. Netanyahu is trying to achieve is a better version of Ariel Sharon’s Big Bang. By creating a solid Jewish-secular front, he expects to attract the central-segment of the Jewish secular electorate to the Likud. Kadima voters will easily make the transition, Labor ones have become an endangered species and matter little. Yair Lapid's and Tzipi Livni's new parties are splitting even more this vote, overall handing Netanyahu an easy victory. Mossad is often called "the Prime Minister's Private Army;" Livni has proven again to be just one of its fanatic soldiers.

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