Photo: George Ginsburg
Livni and Mofaz. Different
Photo: George Ginsburg

Two different worlds

Impossible to find two people who are as different as Shaul Mofaz, Tzipi Livni

He is dark-skinned; she is light-skinned. He is short; she is tall. He is a new immigrant; she is a princess. He’s a general; she’s a civilian. He went to an agricultural school in the north; she studied in Tel Aviv. He is open; she is closed up. He is warm; she is cool. He is operation Defense Shield; she is Security Council Resolution 1701. He is about deterrence; she is about negotiations. He believes in teamwork; she believes in a small group of close associates.


It is impossible to find two people who are more different than the two leading candidates for the Kadima leadership. They are so different that it appears that Kadima’s registered voters are asked to decide between two worlds, two worldviews, and two wholly different leadership styles.


Interviews with the two elicit clear, well-formulated answers. Livni made a long way during her campaign. She is much more confident than she was, less suspicious, but still cautious. She is intelligent, grasps things quickly, alert, and focused. Her answers are complex; too complex at times. Sometimes they are detailed to the point of boredom.


Mofaz is less sophisticated, but much more confident. He is a functional, methodical person. A disciplined man. What you see is what you get. He won’t make great mistakes but won’t lead great moves. We can assume that if he is elected he will aim to maintain the status quo. To a large extent he is like former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, without the mustache: Cautious leadership, going step by step. He is a military man who had an ambush procedure named after him, but no major military doctrines.


Mofaz is a pragmatic man. His views, as expressed during the current campaign, are much more rightist than those of the current coalition. It appears they are much more rightist than his actual views. This may prove to be a mistake.


Meteoric rise

Livni, on the other hand, is to a large extent a product with an image. This doesn’t mean that she won’t blossom and surprise us. If she is able to form a government, she may grow with the job, or crash; she may make dramatic decisions, or hesitate.


Her rise has been meteoric. In the previous government she moved from the back benches to the post of foreign minister and deputy prime minister. On this front she is more like Netanyahu: A short time in politics, fast tracking, without much experience, but with a positive image and public appeal.


Livni is a mystery. Who knows, perhaps she will end up being a great move; the great surprise of Israeli politics.


Should Mofaz win, Kadima will experience an earthquake. We will see changes; there is even a possibility of a split. Should Livni be elected, this will mark an attempt to secure continuity; a choice that is suitable for the current party leadership.


Both of them are convinced that they will win. He is convinced because in the army it’s all about counting the forces you have on your side, and this is what you have. Yet politics doesn’t work that way. She is convinced, because this is what the polls say. This also doesn’t always work that way. One of them will discover it this week.


פרסום ראשון: 09.12.08, 13:02
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