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Livni, Barak and Netanyahu: Navigating Israel's Political Waters

Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008

The next prime minister of Israel will face daunting challenges, from pursuing a risky peace deal with the Palestinians and perhaps Syria, to navigating a dangerous confrontation with Iran, whose nuclear program many in Israel consider an existential threat. Before the new Israeli leader can plunge into these life and death foreign policy issues, though, she (or he) will first need to negotiate the treacherous rapids of Israel's domestic political waters.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is doing just that as she works to secure the office of prime minister. Ironically, the man in the strongest position to affect her chances, former prime minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak, would not win an election to the top job were it held today. He would not even finish second. Barak's Labor Party is at best the third most popular party in the country. ...

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