Isaac Herzog becomes Israeli president



Israeli parliament on Wednesday voted Isaac Herzog, a veteran politician and scion of a prominent Israeli family, as the country’s next president.

The president is a largely figurehead position that is meant to serve as the nation’s moral compass and promote unity.

The election was conducted at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, where 120 lawmakers were eligible to cast their votes anonymously.

Mr Herzog, 60, is a former head of Israel’s Labor Party and opposition leader who unsuccessfully ran against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2013 parliamentary elections. He was elected with 87 votes.

He has deep ties to the political establishment, as a scion of a prominent Zionist family. His father, Chaim Herzog, was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations before being elected president. His uncle, Abba Eban, was Israel’s first foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations and United States. His grandfather was the country’s first chief rabbi.

Mr Herzog has served as head of the Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the government to promote immigration to Israel, for the past three years since resigning from parliament.

He defeated Miriam Peretz, an educator who was seen as a more conservative and nationalist candidate.

Mr Herzog will succeed President Reuven Rivlin, who is set to leave office next month, and the new president will take office at a politically crucial time.