Isaac Herzog sworn in as Israel’s 11th president on ‘Glasgow bible’
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Isaac Herzog sworn in as Israel’s 11th president on ‘Glasgow bible’

Ex-Labour leader and Jewish Agency chairman succeeds Reuven Rivlin as Israel's largely ceremonial head of state

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Isaac Herzog was sworn in as Israel’s 11th president on Wednesday with a promise to “lower the flames, to calm things down”.

The former Labour Party leader and Jewish Agency chairman told MKs he took seriously his vow to be a statesman as a time of polarisation.

“I will set out to complete the task every morning to be the president for all,” Herzog said.

“In normal times, this task would almost sound naïve. Unfortunately, however, these are not normal times.

“These are days when statesmanship has been swept away by polarisation. Days in which the unifying ethos and the shared values are more fragile than ever.”

Herzog took his oath of office on the same Bible used by his father, Israel’s sixth president Chaim Herzog, who served in office until 1993.

The book belonged to Sarah Herzog, the new president’s grandmother, who used it when she was a young girl in Glasgow.

Isaac Herzog secured 87 votes in the first round of the presidential election last month, a powerful majority of the Knesset’s 120 members.

The margin of victory — the largest for any Israeli presidential candidate — was remarkable given the Knesset was fiercely divided over the formation of the next government after four consecutive general elections.

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