The Israeli parliament voted for Isaac Herzog, a former veteran and descendant of a renowned Israeli family, as the country’s new president on Wednesday.
In Israel, the president is mostly a symbolic character who serves as the country’s moral touchstone and promotes solidarity.
Knesset is obliged to hold the election for choosing president where the 120 members can vote for their nominee in a confidential polling.
A former leader of Labor Party and an opposition leader, Herzog stood against Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2013 legislative elections but lost the battle. With 87 votes, the 60-year-old man was elected as the new president.
As could be expected like many others in the 70-year history if Israel, the new president also has significant links to the political elite and comes from a renowned Zionist family. Before taking the office as president, his father, Chaim Herzog, served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Abba Eban, his uncle, was the country’s first foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations and the United States. The new president’s grandpa was a renowned religious character and known as the first top rabbi of the nation.
Mr. Herzog was a member of Israeli Parliament till 2018 when he resigned and started leading the Jewish Agency. The Jewish agency is a renowned non-profit organization whose major mission is to accelerate and expand the immigration of Jewish communities to Israel from across the world.
Miriam Peretz, a teacher with a more conservative and nationalist attitude, was the loser of Wednesday election in Knesset.
President Reuven Rivlin is set to step down next month, and Mr. Herzog will take his place.
Israel’s opposition leader came closer to deposing Benjamin Netanyahu on the same day after agreeing on the terms of an agreement with multiple parties for forming a new government. Defense Minister Benny Gantz is also a party to this agreement.
Yair Lapid, a moderate candidate charged with forming the next government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure can offer a final lineup until Wednesday midnight.
Following an inconclusive election on March 23, the fourth political failure in securing a powerful government, Lapid’s potential government is the last remained hope in avoiding a fifth election.
Mr. Lapid still needs to reach a finalized agreement with his major partner, Naftali Bennett, with whom he will have a rotatory premiership as proposed by Lapid.
Formerly, Yesh Atid, led by Lapid, and centrist Blue and White, led by Gantz, announced their agreement saying the two parties “agreed on the parameters of the government and essential issues related to the strengthening of democracy and Israeli society.”
The details of the agreement show that Gantz will still serve as the defense minister in the potential new coalition government, a position he took from Netanyahu a year earlier with whom he had also agreed to form a rotatory government.
Base on the information released by Lapid’s office, agreements were struck with the left-wing Meretz and center-left Labour parties. Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu is also a party to the agreements, Lapid’s spokesman confirmed.
Reports also confirmed that The United Arab List was in talks with the newly-formed coalition as well. If it succeeds, Israel will see an Arab political party in the government for the first time.
Mr. Netanyahu, in office for 12 years, has attempted to undermine Bennett and two other right-wingers who are negotiating with Lapid, claiming that they are threatening Israel’s security and integrity.
Netanyahu indicated he has enough credit to establish the next government, while he missed a chance in April. If Lapid fails to reach an agreement by Wednesday night, the end of a 28-day deadline by president to form a coalition, parliament, in three weeks, would mission another one to form the government.
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