Former Foreign Minister Livni Quits Knesset


Jerusalem, May 1 — Former Israeli Foreign Minister and Vice Prime Minister Tzipi Livni resigned today as a member of Knesset, but hinted that she'll be back.

Livni, who also led Israel's Kadima party – the country's largest – said in a press briefing she's "leaving the Knesset at this point, but I'm not retiring from public life," because Israel is "too dear to me." Livni easily ranks as one of the most outspoken women in Israeli politics. She was the second-ever woman foreign minister after the tenure of Golda Meir, Israel’s first woman prime minister.

Livni also said she had no regrets about pushing for Palestinian-Israeli peace. “There's an urgent need to reach a permanent agreement with the Palestinians as well as with the Arab world," she said.

Livni’s departure after 13 years in the Knesset comes a little more than a month after she lost leadership of the Kadima party to Shaul Mofaz, who previously served as defense minister and chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Mofaz won the Kadima primaries March 27 with 62 percent of the vote.

There are now 23 women in Knesset seats, out of a total of 120. Livni’s replacement in the Knesset is Kadima’s Yuval Zellner, who is next up on the party list.

Livni, 53, was leader of the opposition Kadima party until 2012. She was born in Israel and served as an Israel Defense Forces officer as well as in the Mossad (Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations).

She was elected to the Knesset in 1999 and served as a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee; the Committee on the Status of Women; and chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for legislation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Law.

As a Knesset member, Livni held portfolios in the committees on regional cooperation and agriculture; immigrant absorption; housing and construction; and justice and foreign affairs. In 2005, she left the Likud Party to help form the Kadima party along with other prominent Israeli politicians.

Livni served as foreign minister and vice prime minster in the 31st Government of Israel from 2006-2009 and as minister of justice from November 2006 through February 2007.

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