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Isaac Herzog Elected Israel’s Next President

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on Wednesday elected a new president of Israel, choosing Jewish Agency chair and former Labor party chief Isaac Herzog to replace outgoing President Reuven Rivlin after seven years in office. Herzog, a son of the late President Chaim Herzog and grandson of Yitzchak haLevi Herzog, Israel’s first chief Ashkenazi rabbi, is a seasoned parliamentary veteran with decades of experience in politics and statesmanship. He bested Miriam Peretz, a bereaved mother and prominent educator and public speaker who became a beloved figure in Israel after losing two sons in combat. “I assume this tremendous responsibility and accept the privilege to serve the entire Israeli people,” Herzog said following the final results. “I intend to be everyone’s president … to bridge and bring together ourselves and our brothers and sisters overseas.” The relatively mellow and polite campaign culminated in the Knesset, where 120 parliament members elected the nation’s head of state, a largely ceremonial position, in a secret ballot vote. The 87-26 landslide victory was the largest in Israel’s presidential election history. Herzog will assume office on July 9.