Veteran politician Herzog elected 11th president of Israel
Jerusalem, June 2 (PTI): Veteran Israeli politician Isaac Herzog will be the Jewish nation’s new president after his overwhelming victory in a secret ballot held in Parliament, it was announced on Wednesday.
The 60-year-old former Labor leader will be the first Israeli President who is the son of a former president. His father Chaim Herzog served as Israel’s Head of State between 1983 and 1993.
Herzog won the support of an overwhelming 87 lawmakers in the 120-member Knesset (parliament) on Tuesday to defeat his rival Miriam Peretz and become the 11th President of Israel.
In the secret election, in which all 120 lawmakers were eligible to cast votes, three abstained, three votes were disqualified and one lawmaker did not vote, The Times of Israel reported.
Herzog will succeed Reuven Rivlin when the latter’s term ends on July 9.
He thanked all the lawmakers who voted for him and said it was an honour to serve the entire people of Israel. “I will be the president of everyone,” Herzog said.
Congratulated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Herzog said to him: “I hope I will be able to work with every government and every prime minister.”
Replied a smiling Netanyahu, to laughter from Herzog, “Let’s not get into that now.”
Herzog was Netanyahu’s opponent in the 2015 elections for prime minister.
President Rivlin also congratulated Herzog and spoke with him on the phone. “I send you my warmest greetings, Mr. President,” Rivlin said.
“I have no doubt that you will bear these responsibilities superbly,” Rivlin said. “I am proud to pass on the baton to you in a month’s time.”
Herzog is currently the head of the Jewish Agency – a nonprofit that works with the government to promote immigration to Israel. He has served as a lawmaker in the Israeli Knesset between 2003 and 2018, also serving as minister with various portfolios.
His grandfather, Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog, was both the first chief rabbi of Ireland, for over a decade, and then Ashkenazi chief Rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine from 1936 until 1959.
The President-elect began his political career as the Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Ehud Barak between 1999 and 2000.
His rival Peretz, a social activist who overcame the loss of two of her sons in battle to become an Israel Prize winning educator and public speaker on issues related to Zionism and dealing with loss, received 26 votes.