Michael Herzog, a retired IDF Brigadier-General and veteran diplomatic negotiator, “checks all the boxes.”
By David Hellerman
According to Hebrew media reports, retired IDF Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog, a veteran diplomatic negotiator and brother of President Isaac Herzog, is the leading candidate to become Israel’s next ambassador to Washington.
Because of the importance Jerusalem places on managing relations with the U.S., the position is regarded as one of Israel’s most important diplomatic postings.
The reports said that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hopes to bring Herzog’s nomination to Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting for final approval.
The appointment also needed Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s assent. Reports said that Bennett wanted someone who Lapid would be comfortable keeping in that post when Lapid become Prime Minister. Under the terms of the coalition agreement, Lapid is due to become Prime Minister in August, 2023.
Ambassador Gilad Erdan is currently Israel’s top envoy to both Washington and the United Nations. It’s believed that Erdan, who was appointed by Benjamin Netanyahu, will continue representing Israel in the UN.
Herzog is now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
He fought as an infantryman in the 1973 Yom Kippur War before climbing the ranks of the IDF, eventually serving as chief of staff to four defense ministers. Herzog also served as former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy to the peace process in 2009-2010 and was also a negotiator in Netanyahu’s back-channel talks with the Palestinians in 2013-2014.
Herzog has relationships with a number of key figures in Washington, including President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
A source told the Times of Israel that Herzog was a “slam dunk” for the post.
“He checks all the boxes,” the source said.