Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was elected head of the governing Kadima party, putting her in line to replace scandal-plagued Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and become Israel’s second female prime minister. Livni, who favors a quick peace deal with the Palestinians, narrowly beat the more hawkish Shaul Mofaz. (The Times of London)
What the commentators said
Like Barack Obama, Livni “chose ‘change’ as a campaign leitmotif,” said Calev Ben-David in The Jerusalem Post. But to be successful now, the “straight-talking ‘Mrs. Clean’” of Israeli politics has to clear “a basic hurdle” shared with John McCain—convincing the elctorate that she can effect change from within the ruling party.
The U.S. and Israeli elections have some things in common, said Michael B. Oren in The New Republic online, such as Livni’s gender and Iran-born Mofaz’s ethnicity. But “on a more visceral level,” Israel’s choice is about “its survival,” while the U.S. gets to debate “crucial but non-existential issues such as immigration and the economy.”
Livni’s race against Mofaz will be “dwarfed by what she will be experiencing starting today,” said Yossi Verter in Israel’s Haaretz. She has to “unite a fractured party” and “bring closer a political rival” who got nearly as many votes as she did. There are high hopes for Livni, but “will ‘clean politics’ and the ‘difference’” she touts be enough?