Isaac Herzog Elected 11th President of Israel

Herzog beat rival candidate Miriam Peretz by a vote of 87 lawmakers to 26.

In the midst of political drama between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and right-wing millionaire Naftali Bennett, the Israeli parliament, formally known as the Knesset, on Wednesday chose Isaac Herzog to serve as the 11th President for Israel. Herzog beat rival candidate Miriam Peretz, an educator and a mother of two Israeli infantry officers killed in battle, by a vote of 87 lawmakers to 26. He will take office next month. 

Presidential candidates Miriam Peretz and Isaac Herzog (Flash 90)

Herzog, 66, is a veteran politician, who played a critical role in the Knesset, heading the Labor Party for years. Besides, he unsuccessfully ran against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2015 parliamentary elections.

Herzog comes from a prominent family. His father, Chaim Herzog, was an Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, in addition to serving as Israel’s 6th president. His uncle, Abba Eban, was Israel’s first Foreign Minister. And his grandfather was the country’s first chief rabbi.

In addition to his work at the Parliament, Herzog served as ahead of the Jewish Agency, a non-profit organization that facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel.

The Israeli President does not have actual political power. Instead, he plays a ceremonial role: meeting with party leaders and tasking candidates with forming governments.

Yet despite these ceremonial roles, the President has the ability to grant pardons – a potentially significant function as Netanyahu faces trial for alleged fraud and corruption.

His election on the day that could see Netanyahu’s rivals make moves to take him down is fitting: in 2015 Herzog carried out a bid to oust the premier, presenting himself as a modest, diplomatic,” says NDTV.

In his first televised address after being elected, Herzog said he intends “to build bridges” within the Israeli divided society and with the Jewish diaspora and “to keep safe the foundations of our democracy.”

When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he supports the two-state solution. Besides, he calls for an end to Israeli settlements.

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