Isaac Herzog, a veteran politician and the scion of a prominent Israeli family, has emerged the new elected president of Israel, a largely ceremonial role that is meant to serve as the nation’s moral compass and promote unity.
Herzog is set to become Israel’s 11th president after securing 87 votes in a secret ballot among the 120 members of the Knesset, or parliament. He will succeed Reuven Rivlin, who leaves office next month at the end of a seven-year term.
“I intend to be the president of everyone,” Herzog said after the votes were tallied. “We must defend Israel’s international status and its good reputation in the family of nations, fight antisemitism and hatred of Israel, and preserve the pillars of our democracy. ”
Herzog, 60, is a former head of Israel’s Labor Party and opposition leader who unsuccessfully ran against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
He comes from a prominent Zionist family. His father, Chaim Herzog, was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations before being elected president. His uncle, Abba Eban, was Israel’s first foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations and United States. His grandfather was the country’s first chief rabbi.
Herzog defeated Miriam Peretz, 67, an educator who was seen as a down-to-earth outsider close to the country’s dominant conservative and nationalist political camp.
Herzog has served as head of the Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the government to promote immigration to Israel, for the past three years since resigning from parliament. He was widely seen as the favorite because of his deep ties to the political establishment. He will hold office for a single seven-year term starting July 9.
Source – The Washington Post