Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket, via Getty Images)
- Isaac Herzog said that when he was sworn in as Israel’s 11th president, he was both humble and excited.
- Herzog said that his mission is to make every effort to build hope in the country again.
- The 60-year-old began a seven-year term after defeating former principal Miriam Peretz.
Isaac Herzog, a veteran of the Israeli Labor Party, was sworn in in Parliament on Wednesday, becoming the 11th president of the Jewish state, succeeding Ruben Rivlin as the main post.
Herzog placed his left hand on the Torah and raised his right hand, saying that he was “humble and excited” and vowed to become “everyone’s president.”
He lamented the polarization of Israeli society and its “unprecedented crisis” in politics.
“My mission is to do everything possible to build hope again,” said the 60-year-old, who began a seven-year term after defeating former principal Miriam Peretz in a legislators vote last month.
The Israeli president has almost no power, and the prime minister exercises executive power.
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When Herzog was elected, Benjamin Netanyahu was still prime minister. He held the post for 12 years until last month his former chief of staff and current prime minister Naftali Bennett dramatically expelled Up him.
However, in Israel’s four unprecedented elections in less than two years, the presidency has played a huge role.
The president is responsible for selecting the most suitable legislator to form a government, a process that has been closely watched after Israel’s ineffective vote.
The president does have the power to grant pardons — a potentially important function, because Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, bribery and breach of trust, and he denies these allegations.
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A descendant of one of Israel’s most prestigious families, Herzog was first elected to Parliament in 2003, but has recently led the Israeli Jewish organization, which focuses on relations with Jewish immigrants and diasporas.
As the son of the sixth Israeli president and former ambassador to the United Nations Chaim Herzog, and the nephew of the famous diplomat and politician Abba Eban, the new president supports the two countries in resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.
During his 2015 election campaign, he vowed to restart the peace process and even said that he was prepared to “remove” Israeli settlements if necessary.