Former Israeli Political Rivals Meet at Clinton Event Amid Talk of Netanyahu Ouster

Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni meet on sidelines of Clinton Global Initiative; while latter aims to unite center and left, former plans political comeback.

Tzipi Livni, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.
David Bachar AFP , Moti Milrod

In addition to the hundreds of heads of states, presidents and foreign ministers descending on New York for the United Nations' General Assembly this week, a large group of now out of office former senior officials from across the world have traveled to the city. For this prestigious group a prestigious forum has been established – the Clinton Global Initiative.

The forum, headed by Bill Clinton, also invited Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, among others. The two even found time for a private meeting in New York's Sheraton Hotel on the sidelines of the gathering to discuss what was described as "political scenarios."

Livni is leading an initiative to unite all of Israel's center and left parties under a joint ticket and that she even wants to hold an open primary for its leadership. Any candidate who feels themselves worthy should put their name forward, Livni says.

Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party, that according to current polling will be the largest party in the center-left bloc, has announced that he's not game. Although the initiative will struggle to take off without him, Livni's resolve to advance the initiative is undeterred. She floated the possibility during the meeting with Barak – who is in the midst of leading an onslaught of personal interviews and media briefings all intended to nibble away at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 'Mr. Security'-image.

Barak is toying with the idea of a political comeback in the next election, but he has yet to reach a final decision on the if and when – or in what political framework.

In the past, Livni and Barak's ties were not warm, to say the least.