JERUSALEM: Modest, diplomatic and with a strong political pedigree, Isaac Herzog was elected president of Israel in a landslide on Wednesday to the largely ceremonial position.

It’s a fitting post for the Tel Aviv-born politician, a scion of one of Israel’s most prestigious families, sometimes referred to as Israel’s version of the Kennedys.

He won easily over Miriam Peretz — a former headmistress who lost two sons in Israel’s wars and is known as “the mother of sons”.

The 60-year-old Herzog was first elected to the Israeli parliament in 2003.

Before entering the Knesset, he served as government secretary under Labour prime minister Ehud Barak, then from 2005 held portfolios including housing, tourism and welfare.

In 2015 Herzog vied to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, presenting himself as a subdued, even-keeled alternative to the bombastic “Bibi”.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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