Former Labor Party leader and previous head of the Jewish Agency was chosen to be Israel’s figurehead for the next seven years, beating his opponenet Miriam Peretz 87-33.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
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.