There are two main contenders to replace Olmert as leader of the ruling Kadima party: frontrunner Tzipi Livni, a former Mossad operative and current Foreign Minister, and Shaul Mofaz, a hawkish former general and current Transportation Minister. The Iranian-born Mofaz is famous for his ruthless crushing of the Palestinian uprising in Jenin and other West Bank towns in 2000.
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Calls also have come from Israeli opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu of Likud for a new general election, possibly in February or March of 2009. Netanyahu was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, a hardliner who does not believe in land for peace.
A recent poll by Israel’s Channel 10 shows Netanyahu as the most preferred leader with 36 per cent, Tzipi Livni with 24.6, the Labour Party’s Ehud Barak with 11.9 and none of the above with 19 percent.
Regarding Iran and its nuclear program, there is still suspicion that Israel might act unilaterally, possibly before the end of President George W. Bush’s term in January.
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