Isaac Herzog

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For the first Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later of Israel, see Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog.
Isaac Herzog
Isaac Herzog 2014.jpg
Date of birth (1960-09-22) 22 September 1960 (age 54)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 16, 17, 18, 19
Faction represented in Knesset
2003– Labor Party
Ministerial roles
2005 Minister of Housing & Construction
2006–2007 Minister of Tourism
2007–2009 Minister of the Diaspora, Society and the fight against Antisemitism
2007–2011 Minister of Welfare & Social Services
Other roles
2013– Leader of the Opposition

Yitzhak "Buji" Herzog (Hebrew: יצחק "בוז'י" הרצוג‎, born 22 September 1960), commonly known in English as Isaac Herzog, is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He is currently a member of the Knesset, chairman of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition. He has previously served as Minister of Welfare & Social Services, Minister of the Diaspora, Society, and the Fight Against Antisemitism, Minister of Housing and Building and Minister of Tourism.


Herzog is the son of Israeli President Chaim Herzog and Aura Herzog, and the grandson of Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog. He was born in Tel Aviv and studied law at Tel Aviv University and Cornell University. Herzog has a wife, Michal, has three children, and is nicknamed Buji. He lives in his childhood home in the Tzahala neighborhood of Tel Aviv.[1][2]

When his father was Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations for three years, Herzog lived in New York and attended the Ramaz School.[2]

He worked at a law firm founded by his father, Herzog, Fox & Ne'eman.[3]

Political career[edit]

Although he did not win a seat in the 1999 elections, Herzog served as government secretary in Ehud Barak's cabinet until 2001 when Barak was defeated by Ariel Sharon in a special election for Prime Minister.[3] In 1999, he was also investigated in the 'Amutot Barak' scandal (a scandal involving allegations that the party funding law was violated), but maintained his silence.[3] The Attorney General, therefore, decided to close the case against him due to lack of evidence. From 2000 until 2003, he served as chairman of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority.

Herzog managed to win a seat in the 2003 election as a member of the Labor Party, and was appointed Minister of Housing and Building at his request when Labor joined Ariel Sharon's coalition government on 10 January 2005. However, on 23 November 2005, he resigned from his cabinet post along with the rest of the party.

Prior to the 2006 elections, Herzog won second place on Labor's list in the party's primaries. He was initially appointed Minister of Tourism in Ehud Olmert's Kadima-led coalition, but was reassigned to the Social Affairs ministry in March 2007 after Yisrael Beiteinu was awarded the Tourism Ministry following their late entry to the governing coalition, and was also appointed Minister of the Diaspora, Society and the Fight Against Antisemitism. He was again second on the party's list for the 2009 elections. Following the election, he was appointed Minister of Welfare & Social Services and Minister of the Diaspora, Society, and the Fight Against Antisemitism. However, he resigned from the cabinet after Ehud Barak left the Labor Party to establish Independence in January 2011.[4]

Herzog is chairman and whip of the Israeli-Australian Parliamentary Association. He is also one of the few Knesset members who still serves in the military reserve (with the rank of Major).

Leader of the Opposition[edit]

On 22 November 2013 Herzog was elected leader of the Labor Party, defeating incumbent Shelly Yachimovich by 58.5% to 41.5%.[5] In doing so, he became Leader of the Opposition. Whereas Yachimovich focused first on socioeconomic issues, Herzog prioritizes security and resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[2]

Ten days after the election, Herzog met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pledge his support for the two-state solution.[6]

Herzog has reportedly reached out to Shas leader Aryeh Deri to increase cooperation between the two opposition factions.[7]


  1. ^ Is this security? Haaretz
  2. ^ a b c Ruth Margalit (30 January 2014). "Israeli Labor's New Leader Looking to Obama and de Blasio As Models". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Asher Schechter (1 December 2013). "The Bougieman: Much hope rests on small shoulders of Isaac Herzog". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Labor ministers quit gov't after split Ynetnews, 17 January 2011
  5. ^ Drama in Labor party: Herzog beats Yachimovich for chairmanship, Yedioth Ahronoth, 22 November 2013
  6. ^ Laub, Karin (1 December 2013). "Israel's new opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, meets Palestine president, pledges support for peace deal". CTV News. Associated Press. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Yaakov, Yifa (2 December 2013). "Shas and Labor forge unlikely alliance". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 

External links[edit]