ANALYSIS / Tzipi Livni Is Israel's Barack Obama

Unlike Hillary Clinton, Livni did not exploit the fact that she is a woman in order to get elected.

If, as John Lennon and Yoko Ono said, "Woman is the N----r of the World," then Tzipi Livni is Israel's Barack Obama.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, Livni did not exploit the fact that she is a woman in order to get elected. She is also not married to one of the most beloved individuals in the world.

Instead, Livni won the Kadima primary despite being a woman, and despite being married to a private man who prefers to steer clear from the limelight. (Israeli comics - all of them men, of course - are now busy thinking up new puns on the old "Mr. Tzipi Livni and Mrs. President.")

And all this while Livni is zealously trying to protect the privacy of her family, and is probably the last person anyone would turn to for a Rosh Hashanah cake recipe.

Livni, after all, strikes the perfect balance between "the beauty and the geek" - an autarkic individual who, albeit not being a beauty pageant runner-up, is nevertheless disinclined to change her wardrobe or haircut, and who still knows more about numbers and probabilities than at least two former generals: Dichter and "alpha male" Mofaz.

These generals have tried everything in their power to stop her. One of them, who, as Labor chair, has only a slim chance of beating her in the general elections, belittlingly called her "Tzipora", while the defeated and deflated alpha male remarked on her hesitancy and military inexperience. As though it's wrong to hesitate - in a true "womanly fashion" - before rushing in to make poor decisions like a regular macho.

They don't want her to pick up the phone at 3 A.M.? Let them find another woman to whisper to at night.

Not only is this the first time in Israel's history that a woman is elected to head a major party (Golda Meir doesn't count; she was appointed by a party committee), but one must also consider the quality of the woman chosen.

Unlike MKs Ruhama Avraham and Esterina Tartman, Livni is deliberately non-coquettish, and not very warm. Yet she managed to single-handedly beat all the polished politicians and generals despite being a woman, and precisely because she acted like an "inexperienced" one at that - by being candid, honest and unwilling to pay fake compliments to Kadima functionaries.

A new wind of hope is now blowing: One small step for Kadima, one giant leap for womankind in Israel. Perhaps it won't be long before the three authorities - judicial, legislative and executive - will all be headed by women.