Ronen Bergman is one of Israel's leading investigative journalists. The senior security and intelligence correspondent and analyst for Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, and an anchor on a leading Israeli television news program, he is the author of three bestselling books published in Israel. He was awarded a PhD by Cambridge University for his dissertation about the Israeli Mossad.
Question: Who is Tzipi Livni?Ronen Bergman: She is the daughter of someone who used to belong to the right-wing underground that fought British mandate during the ‘30s and the ‘40s, and she was basically born into the right-wing Likud Party. She was trained to be a Mossad agent and she quit Mossad because of being courageous, I must say, in the early ‘80s.
She was demanded to sign an agreement or a commitment not to get pregnant within 5 years. And they said, basically, we are going to invest this time in you only if you guarantee us that you’re going to be free for operations for at least 5 years. And she said, I’m not going to get pregnant but yet I think that this is inappropriate to have this piece of paper signed. And she quit Mossad because of that.
But the fact that she crossed the training means that she has a very strong capability of working under pressure, holding false identities, manipulating people as well. Anyway, many things that a politician wants to or needs to survive in the various aggressive Israeli political agreements.
After finishing law, she joined the Likud Party and she was promoted to be a Minister. Then when Ariel Sharon quit Likud as the Prime Minister, and established a new party called Kadima, he took Livni with him and she received quite a lot of warm welcome from different fields of the Israeli public, and was appointed as Foreign Minister.
And when [Ehud] Olmert got so deeply involved with corruption and fraud, just forced him to resign, she was elected as the number one in her party, and therefore, presumably, is going to select the next government.
She is holding a right-wing moderate line and I would not be surprised if she would be willing to retreat from the Golan Heights, giving them back to Syria in order to achieve peace treaty with Syria. And also make some significant compromises with the Palestinians to try and achieve some sort of sustainable agreement with them.
Recorded: Sep 19, 2008