"Livni, 50, is a relative newcomer to Israeli politics and would be the second woman to become prime minister. A lawyer in private practice and a onetime agent in Paris for Mossad, an Israeli intelligence service, she was first elected to Parliament a decade ago and held her first ministerial post under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. She has risen partly on her reputation for honesty and integrity.
She was born to a hawkish Zionist family that opposed any territorial compromise in the name of peace. But along with many members of Likud, she shifted toward the center in the past decade and ultimately helped set up Kadima in the center. She now argues fervently that Israel's future security depends on the establishment of a stable Palestinian state.
Netanyahu, 59, was prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and stayed in Likud when Sharon and others formed Kadima, although he considers himself a pragmatist and says he, too, would like to form a centrist governing coalition.
He said that he had formed a good rapport with President Barack Obama in two meetings when Obama was the Democratic candidate and that he plans to bolster Palestinian economic and civil institutions before starting more serious political negotiations.
Livni has countered that a right-wing government led by Netanyahu would inevitably clash with Washington." IHT
However you inspect this result, the message seems clear that the Israeli electorate has moved significantly to the Right.
That is not good from the US standpoint.
This means that the new government (whichever) will have a greatly restricted set of options in dealing with the Palestinians and the other regional powers. This means that the "hair-trigger" of retaliatory sentiment will be set for quick action in any of the many possible kinds of "incidents" that will undoubtedly occur.
This means that the inevitable Israeli test of Barack Obama's independence from AIPAC pressure will be tougher and more persistant than it might have been.
This means that pressure for military action against Iran will be severe. pl