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.

Background[edit]

Herzog was born in Tel Aviv, the son of Aura Herzog (née Ambache) and General Chaim Herzog, who later was the sixth president of Israel, and the grandson of Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog. His father was of Polish Jewish descent and his mother was of Egyptian Jewish ancestry.

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.[1] In those following years, while also studying in high school, Herzog gained an advanced academic education at Cornell University and New York University.

When he returned to Israel at the end of 1978, he enlisted in the IDF and served as a major officer in Unit 8200 of the Intelligence Corps.

Herzog studied law at Tel Aviv University. He worked at a law firm founded by his father, Herzog, Fox & Ne'eman.[2]

Herzog is married to Michal and has three children. He resides in his childhood home in the Tzahala neighborhood of Tel Aviv.[3] Herzog is nicknamed Buji.

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.[2] 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, similar to the American "taking the 5th Amendment"... .[2] 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 won 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.[1]

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]

In June 2014, Herzog criticized PM Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to engage the international community, failing to present a proposal for peace with Palestinians, and failure to work effectively with the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Herzog declared that Netanyahu's "loathing and hostility for Barack Obama” was one of his greatest failures, since it put Israel's security at risk.[8]

With the governing coalition dissolving and new elections expected in March 2015, Herzog called on Hatnua and Kadima parties to join his Labor Party in forming a new coalition. In an interview with YNET, he stated, "I am capable of replacing Netanyahu. I will do everything in order to establish a bloc before the elections.”[9]Shortly thereafter, Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who was justice minister and is head of a centrist faction, announced they would campaign on a joint slate in the upcoming election in an effort to keep Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party, from securing a fourth term as prime minister.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ruth Margalit (30 January 2014). "Israeli Labor's New Leader Looking to Obama and de Blasio As Models". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Asher Schechter (1 December 2013). "The Bougieman: Much hope rests on small shoulders of Isaac Herzog". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Is this security? Haaretz
  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. 
  8. ^ "'Netanyahu ‘loathes’ Obama, Israel’s opposition leader charges:PM’s hostility to president is ‘endangering Israel’s security,’ claims Labor’s Isaac Herzog, in rare confirmation of long-rumored strained ties between ‘Bibi’ and ‘Barack’'(June 6, 2014) The Times of israel"http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahus-loathes-obama-israels-opposition-leader-charges/
  9. ^ "Winer, Stuart 'Opposition leader calls for center-left bloc to defeat PM: Isaac Herzog says he can lead country, blames Netanyahu for coalition’s failures' (Dec 2, 2014) the Times of Israel" http://www.timesofisrael.com/opposition-leader-calls-for-center-left-bloc-to-defeat-pm/
  10. ^ "Kershner, Isabel 'Alliance Adds Twist to Israeli Elections' (Dec. 10, 2014) The New York Times" http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/world/middleeast/alliance-adds-twist-to-israeli-elections.html

External links[edit]