Isaac Herzog has been elected as Israel's 11th President. Herzog easily beat the educator Miriam Peretz 87-26, in a secret ballot of Knesset Members. Herzog will serve a seven-year term as the country's ceremonial head of state, succeeding President Reuven Rivlin next month.
Herzog currently serves as the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and is a former Knesset Member and leader of the Labor party. He is the son of the late Haim Herzog, Israel's sixth president and the grandson of the country's first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog.
In his acceptance speech, Herzog thanked Miriam Peretz, whom he called "a true hero of Israel," and said that he would be the president of everybody, in facing up to the many challenges that lay ahead of the country.
He said, "For over two decades I have fulfilled the mission of my life, to serve my people and my country with love, dedication and professionalism. I have studied Israeli society throughout, becoming closely acquainted with the diversity and uniqueness of the Israeli mosaic; a rare and unique blend, which combines not only members of all faiths, groups and religions, but the great treasures we appreciate together: spiritual richness, cultural depth, critical thought, tradition and renewal. There is not a single stone in our beautiful mosaic that I would be willing or dare to give up."
"That is why I intend to be the president of all Israelis, to lend an attentive ear to every position and respect every person. To join the connecting lines and build bridges of consensus, in order to bring in even the most distant amongst us, as well as our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. To empower and nurture our creativity, innovative spirit and originality; to fulfil our goals of unity and mutual responsibility. To foster a common identity of belonging that we so desperately need in our journey to become an ideal society, making room for free spirits, creators and dreamers. To fill Israel with hope."
"Our challenges are many and should not be taken lightly. We must heal the wounds that have opened up in our society, and defend Israel's international status and good name in the family of nations. We must fight anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel, and maintain the pillars of our democracy, so that we rise to the magnitude of the moment. Out of the dark and into the light. This is our essence, our pioneering spirit, and the commitment of every Israeli."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 2, 2021
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