Tzipi (Tzipora) Livni was born in Tel Aviv to parents who were former members of the Irgun, a pre-state, right-wing paramilitary organization. She served as a lieutenant in the IDF and later worked for the Mossad.
A graduate of Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Law, Livni practiced public and commercial law for 10 years before entering politics in 1996 as a member of the Likud Party.
In 1999 she became a Knesset member for the first time on the Likud Party ticket. When Ariel Sharon became prime minister in July 2001, Livni was named Minister of Regional Cooperation. She went on to hold various Cabinet posts, including Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Minister of Immigrant Absorption; and Minister of Housing and Construction. In 2005, she was given the Justice Ministry portfolio.
In late 2005, Livni joined Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert in their move from Likud to the newly formed centrist Kadima Party, which she helped create. In May 2006, Livni was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving in that capacity until March 2009. She was only the second woman in Israeli history (along with Golda Meir) to have held the foreign ministry portfolio. She took over as head of Kadima in 2008, after a leadership race triggered by Olmert's resignation over corruption charges.
Despite Kadima narrowly winning the most Knesset seats in the 2009 general elections, Livni was unable to form a coalition government, paving the way for the establishment of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led government. Livni assumed the role as head of the opposition, and earned both praise and criticism for refusing to join the Netanyahu government.
Throughout her tenure as opposition leader, Livni has been outspoken in her criticisms of the Netanyahu government’s policies regarding final status talks with the Palestinians. Initially opposed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians early in her political career, Livni is now a champion of that policy. However, she has voiced her support over the government’s handling of the Iranian nuclear weapon issue.
In the 2012 Kadima primaries, Livni was defeated by close to 25 percent of the votes, and retired from the Knesset.
On November 27, 2012, Livni established Hatnua Party and won six seats in that year's election. She currently serves as Justice Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
Israeli politics has long ceased to be about ideas or real principles. It is only about being the alternative to Bibi
Ehud Barak meanwhile says he hasn’t ruled out joining forces with Labor and is willing to be second on a joint slate
Livni's difficulty in taking on issues beyond the peace process and the two-state solution led to her political downfall
After 20 years in politics, Livni found that the public had turned its back on her ideological hallmark – a two-state solution as a guarantee of Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish democracy
Livni’s retirement testifies to the fact that most of the energy and the political ammunition of the center-left is being wasted on infighting
The former justice and foreign minister says her party won't run in upcoming election: 'I am leaving politics but I will not allow the hope for peace to leave Israel'
Benny Gantz very much wants to unite with a party keen on socio-economic affairs, but is getting a cold shoulder ■ Center-left groupings seem unlikely, but don't count them out just yet
With 10 days left to submit their lists of candidates, parties on left and right are feverishly contemplating mergers and acquisitions that could redraw the political map
Contrary to the media propaganda against him, hated American president knows how to formulate new approaches that can change reality
33 percent of respondents pick the former military chief, with 11 percent selecting the Yesh Atid chairman – while almost half choose none of the options
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay’s decision to end its joint slate with Livni’s party caught her unprepared. She is trying to shake a left-wing reputation and find a candidate who could help her party run independently
The face of Hatnuah leader Tzipi Livni was blurred, and Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg was told her image had to be removed from the billboard
'The centrist camp is depressed now. It doesn’t have the team spirit that Likud people have. It’s perplexed and confused,' PR manager says
Poll still has Likud in first place with 32 seats, with the possible alliance between Yesh Atid and Hatnuah receiving 17 seats
Livni is reportedly prepared to join with Yesh Atid without gunning for number one slot on a unified Knesset roster ■ Lapid concludes he needs to boost strength within center-left bloc after failing to court center-right
Hundreds of members leave party in light of chairman's conduct in breaking up Zionist Union alliance ■ Polls predict a steep decline in seats ahead of April 9 election
Asked why he chose to break up Zionist Union publicly, Avi Gabbay said: In the hood I learned that if they beat you up you hit back and don't run off to make peace
Firings on live TV, dramatic press conferences and changes in the polls have become the focus of political reporting – our own version of America under Trump
Now that Labor Party leader Gabbay has severed his party's ties with her Hatnuah party, what are Livni's political options?
Shelly Yacimovich, who acted as opposition leader in the past, accepts Avi Gabbay's proposal, although Knesset has already been dissolved ahead of snap elections
Gabbay's cruel humiliation, unprecedented in contemporary politics, could cost him dearly among women voters
Analysis Humiliation and Revenge Served Cold: How Labor Head Dropped the Bomb and Rattled the Israeli Left
Labor chairman Avi Gabbay, fed up with 'taking shit' from Hatnuah leader Tzipi Livni, held a surprise press conference to break up their partnership in front of the cameras
She was popular during her Likud days and even a political asset in several governments, but to get to the top in Israeli politics, you must be able to maintain partnerships and build coalitions
WATCH: Livni taken by surprise at press conference ■ Gabbay: I took shit from Livni ■ Zionist Union fared poorly in polls ■ Center-left playing field gets crowded ahead of April 9 ■ Latest election headlines
Opposition parties that squabble and eat into each other’s electoral support serve Netanyahu and the right, which is united around one leader
The opposition had the opportunity to create a formative moment that would lead to change. Instead, it backed down and continues to disintegrate
Despite media scorn in response to his ambitions, there is no doubt that Lapid expresses authentic, deeply felt public views
There was a disconnect between the sentiments of the crowd and the memorial's content, and the effort to portray a mood of reconciliation between left and right was indecent and pathetic