Photo: Reuters
Woman of the Year
Photo: Reuters
With Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
Photo: AP
Photo: Reuters
And PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Avi Ohayun, GPO
Visiting Sharon's southern farm
Photo: Avi Ohayun, GPO

Ynet readers pick Condi

U.S. Secretary of State beats out Bono, disaster victims in 'People of the Year' survey

Israelis love Condi: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the big winner in Ynet's 'People of the Year' survey


Rice's parents, a priest and a music teacher, never guessed their gifted daughter would grow into a tough diplomat, let alone be mentioned as a 2008 presidential candidate.


Still, 47-years ago, when her father took the then-four-year-old girl to visit the American capital, little Rice was thrilled as she stood outside the White House lawns, with her father explaining to her that black children may not be allowed to buy a burger in the local eatery, but one day will gain a foothold in America's political elite.


Ynet's 'First Lady'        (Photo: AFP)


Rice, who was picked by more than 4,000 of the approximately 30,000 people who cast their vote in the year-end survey, is the highest ranked black woman in American history, ascending to new heights in the conservative republican party of all places.


Indeed, some observers believe the eloquent Rice is set to win the 2008 elections and become the nation's first black, female president.


At the age of 15, after skipping two grades, Rice was accepted into university, where she attended a lecture – about former Russian leader Joseph Stalin - that changed her world. Rice fell in love with the subject and decided to focus on learning the Russian language and Soviet policy.


Rice wrote her PhD dissertation on the military ties between the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, and in 1981 earned the degree and was invited to teach in the prestigious Stanford University, where she focused on researching the Soviet army.


Averts Russian crisis


Rice later become a special assistant in the Pentagon, and later joined the National Security Council, eventually heading the department in charge of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.


At one point, Rice averted a crisis after Boris Yeltsin, then a Russian opposition figure, demanded to meet former President Bush in 1989. The Americans were concerned an official reception would anger former Russian President Gorbachev and led him the office of a White House official. Yeltsin discovered the ploy and reacted with fury.


Condi with President Bush      (Photo: AP)


The Russian-speaking Rice, however, managed to resolve the problem, convincing the livid Yeltsin to stay in the office for a few more minutes. Shortly thereafter, President Bush "happened to pass by" the office and ended up speaking with Yeltsin.


Rice, who later served a six-year term as the Stanford University provost, took a break from her pursuits in 1999 to assist George W. Bush in the presidential race.


In January 2001 she was appointed as National Security Advisor, and four years later, the Senate approved her appointment as the current Secretary of State by an 85-13 margin.


As it turns out, the Americans love their foreign minister. Recent polls show more than two-thirds of Americans believe Rice is doing a good job, particularly in light of her involvement in Middle Eastern affairs.


Rice has been intimately involved in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian contacts, although in 2001 she made headlines for different reasons, after Ariel Sharon, then a contender in the premiership race, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying he found it difficult to concentrate in his talk with Rice because of her shapely legs.


Fancies her legs?       (Photo: Reuters)  


However, despite being the consummate professional, Rice is not immune to careless remarks. During an official visit in Russia in April, she indicated she intends to run for president, inadvertently providing an answer for a question the entire world was wondering about.


A few seconds later she attempted to retract the comment, but journalists got the hint and have often mention the presidential option since that point.


Tsunami victims come in 3rd


Coming in at close second, with 3,630 votes, were musicians Bono from U2 and Bob Geldof, who produced the "Live 8 aid" concert. The choice may indicate that Israelis, too, are getting tired of hearing about politicians and terrorists all the time.


The two musicians made headlines in July after organizing the charity event, unprecedented in terms of both scope and significant. The concert, which took place in 10 cities across four continents and featured more than 1,000 musicians, aimed to raise the public's awareness and push politicians to invest more efforts to improve the situation of poorer nations.


The surprising third place (with 3,059 votes) went to

natural disaster victims, who this year seemed to make headlines more than ever before perhaps.


It started with the Asian tsunami, which claimed about 200,000 lives in 12 countries and left two million people without a roof over their head. Other disasters included floods in India, China and the Philippines, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and the major earthquake that rocked Pakistan.


Humanity has known natural disasters over the course of history, yet it appears Ynet readers thought this year was different. This time around, more than before, humans again realized nature's awesome power, with camera lenses capturing much of the devastation.


פרסום ראשון: 12.30.05, 16:38
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