July 8, 1958
Currently serving as Israel’s Minister of Justice, Tzipi Livni was born in Tel Aviv to two prominent figures of the Irgun (Jewish paramilitary group operating in mandate Palestine between 1931-1948). A graduate of Bar-Ilan University’s school of law, she was a lieutenant in the Israeli Army, and worked for the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence agency). She then served as a litigating attorney for ten years before entering politics.
In 1999, she became a member of the Knesset for the Likud party. Upon Ariel Sharon’s election as prime minister in July 2001, Livni was appointed Minister of Regional Cooperation. This was the first of many prominent cabinet positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Minister of Immigration Absorption, and Minister of Housing and Construction.
In November 2005, Livni joined the new Kadima Party along with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Ehud Olmert. Kadima literally means “moving forward” and is a centrist political party that unites moderates from the left and right of Israeli politics.
When Ariel Sharon fell into a coma in 2006, Ehud Olmert became prime minister and Livni served as his deputy prime minster, while retaining the title of foreign minister. In the 2009 elections, after Ehud Olmert was ousted as a result of corruption charges, Livni was unable to form a coalition within the Knesset, and ceded power to Benjamin Netanyahu. She then acted as opposition leader. In 2012 Livni announced the creation of a new party, HaTnuah (the movement), and continued to try to change the old guard of Israeli politics from the inside.
After the 2013 elections, Livni joined Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as Minister of Justice. She also served as the government’s point person in the 2013-2014 negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
She is a vocal proponent of the two-state solution, and in 2011 was named one of “150 Women Who Shake the World” by Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
The photo shows Foreign Minister Livni with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the World Economic Forum in 2008.