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Tzipi Livni as Israel’s next Golda Meir? Well, not so fast.

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Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi LivniTzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, put some deep cracks in the macho Mediterranean country’s glass ceiling with her victory — albeit a narrow one — over former general Shaul Mofaz in Wednesday’s Kadima party leadership election.  But no sooner had she moved a step closer to becoming Israel’s first woman prime minister since the legendary Golda Meir in the 1970s, than two former members of the vaunted Sayeret Matkal commando unit got together for a strategy session.    

Ehud Barak, whose Labour Party is a key member of the Kadima-led coalition government, and Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the right-wing opposition Likud, met on Saturday to discuss their next moves in Israel’s political turmoil.

Livni is widely expected to get the nod from President Shimon Peres to try to form a government to replace the one currently led by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is resigning in a corruption scandal.

File photo of Golda Meir visiting troops in the Golan Heights in 1973Labour would be a natural partner for Livni: it belongs to the current governing coalition and supports the peace moves she and Olmert have been leading with the Palestinians.  But Barak, Israel’s defence minister, is playing hard to get and Netanyahu has no incentive to join up with Livni — opinion polls show Likud would win an early parliamentary election, a ballot likely to be held should she fail to form a government.    

Welcome to Israel

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olmert.jpg Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was all smiles a day after police recommended that he face criminal charges in a corruption scandal.

 Declining to answer reporters’s questions, an ebullient Olmert grinned broadly and waxed patriotic as he greeted a jumbo jet-load of new immigrants from the United States.

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