A former spy who plays the drums to relax and once blamed “guy issues” for undermining Israel’s war effort in Lebanon, Tzipi Livni has emerged as perhaps the greatest threat to the tenuous grip on power of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.
The scathing findings of the Winograd Commission, an Israeli Government inquiry that recently blamed Mr Olmert for the failings of last summer’s war, has set the stage for a struggle between the two leaders. And while Mr Olmert seems likely to cling to power for the time being, Ms Livni appears determined eventually to take his place.
Ms Livni’s closest friends, family and colleagues say that Israel’s popular Foreign Minister is convinced that she will be the next prime minister. “She knows she is the right person for this job,” said Dror Gal, a lawyer and confidant.