The contenders to be Israel's next prime minister

Tzipi Livni, Shaul Mofaz, and Bejamin Netanyahu are the top three politicians most likely to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, observers say.

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    Benjamin Netanyahu – Chairman of the Likud Party and Olmert’s top political rival. Served as prime minister from 1996-1999. If elected, vows to “bring down” Hamas in the “terrorist enclave” of Gaza. Netanyahu has called for general elections to be held now.
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    Tzipi Livni – Foreign Affairs Minister. A lawyer who was first elected to the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, in 1999. Left the Likud Party in 2005 and helped form the Kadima Party. Critical of Ehud Olmert’s handling of the 2006 Hezbollah war. Is is favored to become prime minister.
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    Shaul Mofaz – Minister of Transportation. Mofaz served a distinguished career in the Israeli Military and was promoted to major general in 1994. He served as the minister of defense from 2002 until 2006. Member of Kadima Party. In June, Mofaz said Israel would attack Iran if they continued their nuclear weapons program.
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Tzipi Livni – Foreign Affairs Minister. A lawyer who was first elected to the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in 1999. Left the Likud Party in 2005 and helped form the Kadima Party. Critical of Ehud Olmert's handling of the 2006 Hezbollah war. She is favored to become prime minister.

Shaul Mofaz – Minister of Transportation. Mofaz served a distinguished career in the Israeli Military and was promoted to major general in 1994. He served as the minister of defense from 2002 until 2006. Member of Kadima Party. In June, Mofaz said Israel would attack Iran if they continued their nuclear weapons program.

Benjamin Netanyahu – Chairman of the Likud Party and Olmert's top political rival. Served as prime minister from 1996-1999. If elected, vows to "bring down" Hamas in the "terrorist enclave" of Gaza. Netanyahu has called for general elections to be held now.

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Associated Press, Jerusalem Post

Compiled by Corinne Chronopoulos

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