By: Paul Shindman & TJVNews.com
The Knesset voted Wednesday to elect former Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog as the country’s 11th president, the mostly ceremonial job that is currently held by President Reuven Rivlin.
The 120-member legislature voted 87-26 with seven members absent or abstaining to elect Herzog, who will serve a a single seven-year term, as Rivlin’s turn comes to an end on July 9. Herzog beat his opponent by a larger margin than any previous president, N12 noted.
He defeated Miriam Peretz, an educator and Israel Prize laureate who was vying to become Israel’s first woman president.
Following the vote, she congratulated Herzog, saying, “I competed against a worthy person. It was a great privilege. We have a great country and should not let it be covered by darkness.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Herzog on his victory, saying, “I wish him great success on behalf of all Israeli citizens. I thank Miriam Peretz for her honorable candidacy and I am convinced that she will continue to contribute.”
Herzog, 60, has a storied pedigree. His grandfather, Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi Herzog, was the second chief rabbi of Israel. His father, Chaim Herzog, was an IDF general, Israel’s ambassador to the UN and a member of Knesset before becoming Israel’s sixth president.
Although mostly pomp and ceremony, the president in Israel is also the person who selects which party will get a chance to form a government after each national election.
Herzog’s opponent, Miriam Peretz, is famous in Israel for losing two sons in battle and dedicating her life to Zionism and community work.
After failing to gain any success in the Knesset as the head of the Labor Party, Herzog left politics in 2018 and became chairman of the organization that maintains contact between Israel and Jewish communities around the world.
Herzog campaigned among the Knesset members pushing his experience in politics and diplomacy, saying that the job representing Israel at the state level required somebody with his depth of background.
Current Israeli president Reuven Rivlin said of Isaac Herzog’s election: “The title of ‘first citizen’ and the task of guarding the character of the State of Israel, particularly at this point in time, are heavy responsibilities. I have no doubt that you will bear them superbly. I am proud to pass on the baton to you in a month’s time. Long live the State of Israel! Long live the President of the State of Israel!”
To Miriam Peretz, President Rivlin said: “Dear Miriam, you have a piece of my heart, of all of our hearts. I want to thank you for setting out on this path. For your sacrifice. For the special way you chose in this campaign. For the language you taught us – the language of the heart.”
Also on Wednesday, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef spoke with President-elect Isaac Herzog and told him: “It is a great honor for the State of Israel that its President-elect is continuing the dynasty of his grandfather, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog, and is proudly representing the Jewish people. I wish that your grandfather will continue to be proud of you in Heaven throughout your presidency and that you will continue to act on behalf of the Jewish people and do Heaven’s work as you have until now.” President-elect Herzog thanked Chief Rabbi Yosef and replied: “I certainly feel the burden on my shoulders and I expect to carry out my mission with pride and faith.”
Reacting to the election of Isaac Herzog as President of the State of Israel, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said: “On behalf of the more than 100 Jewish communities on six continents affiliated with the World Jewish Congress, I wholeheartedly congratulate my friend Isaac Herzog, whom I have known for many years and whom I greatly admire, on his election as the 11th President of the State of Israel.
“I cannot think of a better or more able representative of the State of Israel and the people of Israel – Jews and Arabs, religious and secular. A scion of an illustrious family, he brings to this new position the dignity and depth of a true statesman. None of us will ever forget the eloquence and intellect of his father, President Chaim Herzog – who was a distinguished diplomat, a lawyer, and a gallant general – or his grandfather, Yitzhak Ha-Levy Herzog, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, an outstanding Jewish scholar and leader.
“Following on his distinguished service as chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog brings to the Israeli presidency a profound understanding of and appreciation for the mosaic that is world Jewry in its glory and diversity. I know that he will greatly strengthen the traditional ties that bind the Jews of Israel to their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, and I look forward to working closely with him on behalf of the Jewish people and in the fight against resurging antisemitism around the world.”
The American Jewish Congress said in a statement that they “warmly congratulate Isaac Herzog upon his election as the 11th President of the State of Israel. President-elect Herzog and his family, particularly his father, former President Chaim Herzog, have greatly contributed to Israel’s advancement and progress. Mr. Herzog is an outstanding leader who will ably serve the State of Israel.
A long-time friend of our organization, President-elect Herzog is positioned like no other leader to lead a highly diverse Israeli society and serve as a truly unifying figure. A committed public servant with vast institutional experience, Mr. Herzog has served the State of Israel in different capacities and roles along the years, including as a legislator in the Israeli Knesset, as leader of various Government Ministries, and most recently as Chairman of the Jewish Agency.
We would like to thank outgoing President Reuven Rivlin for his service and leadership. During his mandate, President Rivlin was able to navigate the challenging international situation for Israel, as well as its complex internal political environment. He proved to be deeply committed to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to furthering Israel’s ties with the global Jewish diaspora.
In these trying times, the American Jewish Congress stands firmly with Israel. We look forward to working with President-elect Herzog in the days ahead.” (World Israel News)
Read more at: worldisraelnews.com