Aura Herzog

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Aura Herzog

Aura Herzog (Hebrew: אורה הרצוג born December 24, 1924) is a social activist and the widow of Chaim Herzog, sixth president of the State of Israel. In 1968, she founded Council for a Beautiful Israel.[1]


She was born in Egypt to a Jewish family of Russian and Polish origin. Her parents were Leah (the daughter of Yechiel Michal Steinberg, founding family of Motza, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem), and Simcha Ambash (an acronym for "I believe in complete faith"), an engineer by profession. Her parents had four children; her sister Suzy later married Israeli diplomat Abba Eban.[1]

Her parents came to Egypt from Jaffa, she was educated in French schools in Ismailia and Cairo and completed her BA in mathematics and physics from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.[1]

In October 1946, after completing her studies, she immigrated to Palestine. In the following year she was chosen to participate in the first class of the Diplomatic School established by the Jewish Agency. During these years she was a member of the Haganah a Jewish paramilitary organization in the British Mandate of Palestine (1921–48). In 1947 she married Chaim Herzog and accompanied him in his roles in the IDF and in public life.

On March 11, 1948, she was wounded in the attack on the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem. During the War of Independence she served as an intelligence officer in the newly founded Science Corps and also served as an intelligence officer in the intelligence department Number 2 (Unit 8200).

From 1950-1954 she accompanied her husband in his roles as military attache in the United States, and again from 1975-1978 as wife of the ambassador to the United Nations.

She served as the Director General of the Committee for the celebration of the First Decade of the State of Israel (1958) and initiated the first Bible Quiz, which thereafter takes place every year on independence day.

From 1959 to 1968 she headed the Department of Culture in the ministry of Education and Culture and was a member of the council for Arts and Culture. In 1969 she founded the Council for a Beautiful Israel.

In 1969 she founded the Council for a Beautiful Israel, a leading environmental protection NGO and chaired it for 38 years, after which she became its international president.

After the end of her husband's tenure as President, she held various positions, including: Chairperson of the Public Committee for the celebration of Israel's Jubilee celebration (1998), Member of the Public Advisory Board of Mifal Hapayis, (Israel's national lottery), Member of the Board of Governors of the Tel Aviv Museum, and Chairperson of the association of Friends of Schneider Children's Hospital, in Petach Tikva.

In 1971 her book "Secrets of Hospitality" was published for the teaching of hospitality, manners and customs.

Personal life[edit]

Herzog is the mother of four children: attorney Yoel Herzog, Brigadier General Michael Herzog, politician and former opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Bougie), and Ronit, a clinical psychologist.


  1. ^ a b c Cashman, Greer Fay (2012-04-25). "All in the Family". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2017-09-09.