Isaac Herzog announces bid to become Israel’s next president
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Isaac Herzog announces bid to become Israel’s next president

If elected he would be the first son of an Israeli president to elected to the role

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Isaac Herzog
Isaac Herzog

Isaac Herzog announced his bid to become Israel’s next president with a vow to unify the country after years of division.

The Jewish Agency chairman’s candidacy had been widely anticipated and positions him as an early frontrunner for the mostly ceremonial role.

Herzog led Israel’s Labour Party to a second-place finish in the 2015 Knesset election.

“The next president of the State of Israel will need to heal the rifts among us,” Herzog said in a statement on Facebook.

“He will have to connect Jews here in Zion with their brothers in the diaspora, improve Israel’s international image, defend its good name in the family of nations and struggle against its haters.”

Herzog said he would draw on the experience of his family: his father Chaim served as Israel’s sixth president until 1993, while his grandfather was Israel’s first Ashkenazi chief rabbi, holding the role even before the state’s foundation.

Chaim Herzog, father of Isaac, was president between 1983 and 1993

The person to succeed Reuven Rivlin, whose term ends this summer, will be elected by the 120 members of the Knesset on June 2.

Candidates need the support of at least 10 MKs to file their paperwork before midnight on Thursday morning.

In addition to Herzog, only the educator Miriam Peretz is understood to have crossed that threshold.

Peretz became an educator and public speaker on Zionism after two of her sons killed in combat 12 years apart.

Others thought to be running for the role include the former Labour MKs Shimon Shetreet and Michael Bar-Zohar and Yehudah Glick, a former Likud MK.

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