Home Actualité internationale CM – Isaac Herzog: Israel’s humble and thoroughbred new president
Actualité internationale

CM – Isaac Herzog: Israel’s humble and thoroughbred new president

The country's next head of state, a member of one of its leading political families, vows to "build bridges" within Israeli society after easily winning the Knesset vote for the post

Modest, diplomatic and with a strong political pedigree, Isaac Herzog is the new President of Israel, who was elected to the largely ceremonial office on Wednesday.

It is a fitting post for the Tel Aviv-born politician, a scion of one of Israel’s most esteemed families, sometimes referred to as Israel’s version of the Kennedys.

He won easily against Miriam Peretz – an Israel Prize-winning educator and social activist who lost two sons in Israel’s wars and when « Mother of the Sons » is known.

Before he entered the Knesset, he was cabinet secretary under Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak, then from 2005 in areas such as housing, tourism and welfare.

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In 2015, Herzog vied for the removal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and presented himself as a subtle, balanced alternative to the bombastic « Bibi ».

And as luck would have it, he was elected President years later the day a coalition of ideological rivals came together to remove the veteran prime minister from power.

« I will be everyone’s president, » he said after his victory with tears in his eyes as he joined thanked his wife Michal.

Yair Lapid, the coalition architect trying to forge an alliance that Netanyahu could depose, congratulated his “friend” Duke and called him “a worthy and wonderful man who always cares for the good of the country and the Jewish people ”.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu from the Knesset wished Herzog » good luck « – to which Herzog replied: » I will be happy to work with any government, regardless of the leadership. « 

Herzog’s Irish-born father Chaim Herzog was head of military intelligence, then was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1983 to 1993 and finally the country’s sixth President.

His uncle Abba Eban is a famous Israeli diplomat and statesman who served as Envoy to Washington and the United Nations before becoming Israel’s Foreign Minister during the Six Day War in 1967.

Duke’s grandfather and namesake – Rabbi Yitzhak (Isaac) HaLevi Duke – was Israel’s first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi.

Duke spent several Years of high school in New York while his father worked overseas before returning to Israel, serving as an Army Intelligence officer and eventually studying law at Tel Aviv University.

After Herzog, who was a two-state Advocating solution, having taken the helm of the Labor Party, he worked to refocus its focus on peace with the Palestinians.

Less than ten days after taking office, he met the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

During his 2015 campaign, he promised to restore the peace process that had failed in April 2014 and even said he was ready to « remove » Israeli settlements if necessary.

Most recently, he was chairman of the Jewish Agency, a semi-governmental organization whose tasks include Jewish immigration and relations with the Jewish diaspora .

Married and father of three children, Herzog still lives in the house he grew up in in Tel Aviv and is nicknamed “Bougie” – allegedly from his Egyptian-born mother.

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