Gabbay destroyed the dream, Lapid and Gantz preferred not to cooperate, and Meretz was one step too far. Few in Israel have an impressive resume like Tzipi Livni did, but a series of erroneous decisions led her to her retirement announcement.

Twenty years after she began her political career and a decade after almost becoming prime minister, Tzipi Livni has announced the end of her career (for now). Her dignified statement at the press conference in Tel Aviv, as well as the sympathetic responses that came after, even from some of her biggest political opponents, reveal a tragic ending to this political story.

One of the most impressive, serious, and ambitious women in the Knesset in recent decades, Livni simply did not know how to play the game. During her political career she passed through four different parties — Likud, Kadima, Hatnuah, and the Zionist Union — and quarreled with almost all her political partners along the way. After Avi Gabbay dismantled the Zionist Union during a live broadcast, relaunching Hatnuah as an independent party was apparently one step too far for the Israeli public, who usually do not appreciate used goods.

Few in Israel have an impressive resume like Livni. Ministerial portfolios she held include immigration and absorption, agriculture, construction and housing, justice, and foreign affairs; she was also leader of the opposition and acting prime minister. She is her generation’s biggest glass ceiling breaker, the only woman in the last couple of decades who has come close to Israel’s most important office, and the second Israeli woman in history, after Golda Meir, to serve as minister of foreign affairs. She has the highest mileage when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians and the Arab states, and has been involved in all the major political rounds of recent years. She mediated in the cease-fire discussions of the Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, and Operation Protective Edge, and maintains an extensive network of contacts with leaders from around the world, from Condoleezza Rice to the Omani foreign minister. In fact, she is one of the only politicians in Israel, apart from Netanyahu, who owns such a prestigious address book, and one of the only politicians who knows how to use it in a clear and fluent international language.

However, and without lessening any of her achievements, Livni played less well in the domestic political arena and made a series of bad decisions that led her to where she is today. Her original sin was the glorious failure of forming the government in 2009, which influenced all her other mistakes down the road. Livni did not want to play with old politics, and refused to comply with Shas’s budget demands, a move that probably crowned Netanyahu for the next decade. She left Kadima abruptly after losing the role of head of the party to Shaul Mofaz back in 2012, set up the Hatnuah party, all while leaving behind huge party debts. She was the first to enter the Netanyahu government in 2013, and also the first to be fired by him when he decided to dissolve the government a year and a half later.

In 2015, she managed to create a surprising partnership with Isaac Herzog, and pushed herself to the top of the Zionist Union, but truth be told, the fact that he was the first political partner that she didn’t stab in the back is mainly a testimony to his character, not to hers. With Ehud Olmert, Mofaz, Amir Peretz, and in the end, even with Gabbay, she simply couldn’t find a common ground. Thus, her retirement message was given alone, without any of her party members (even the loyal Yoel Hasson, who followed her no matter what, was absent). It is a fitting analogy that almost all of her political moves originated from thinking only about herself.

Livni, who always prided herself on putting her ego aside, dreamed for years about creating a united bloc, open primaries and alliances, anything that would bring down Netanyahu’s government. In retrospect, Gabbay’s aggressive public display destroyed this dream, and she was forced to discover the lukewarm demand for her brand. Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, who could have profited from her vast experience and clear positions, disowned her on the grounds that she paints them in colors that are too leftist. This is a funny argument, given Livni’s deep Betar (a revisionist Zionist Movement founded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky) background, but her unequivocal support for the two-state solution has branded her as a losing stock, and the fact that she has never proved herself a team player didn’t help her pitch.

In the past few weeks, she has examined all her options: For example, a great effort was made to bring her together with Ehud Barak and Dan Meridor to help pave the way back to the Labor Party, but after Gabbay managed to show strength in the primaries and push Eitan Cabel to the end of the list, this fantasy also disappeared. Meretz would be happy to have her, but even for her, this would be one step too far to the left.

But Livni will be back. Her voice will be missed in the political system, as she was a proud advocate for important issues such as the rule of law, equality, and the preservation of a Jewish and democratic state. She was the clearest and most vocal voice who spoke of a diplomatic process and one who dared to say the word “peace” out loud, and also one of the few who dared to confront Bennett and Shaked and challenge the settlers. But this voice, a lost one in today’s politics, is no longer very popular as the recent polls have shown. Most of her classic voters — Kadima voters from 2008, for example — found a new messiah in the form of Gantz, leaving her with minimal support, far away from the electoral threshold, and bringing her to the point of preferring to give up her position so that her votes won’t be lost.

Livni declared that her Hatnuah party would not run for the Knesset, and emphasized during her speech that she is departing from politics, but the few days that remain until the lists close, and the branding of politics as the realm of the impossible imply that she will be back. If not in this round, then maybe in the future.

WATCH: Tzipi Livni announces retirement from politics