Bennett Taps Michael Herzog as Israel's U.S. Ambassador

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Michael and Isaac Herzog in 2008.
Michael and Isaac Herzog in 2008.Credit: Moshe Milner, GPO
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Michael Herzog, the brother of President Isaac Herzog, will serve as Israel's next ambassador to the United States, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Friday. 

Herzog will continue to hold the position even after the scheduled rotation between Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in the Prime Minister's Office takes place.

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Herzog's appointment will be brought to the cabinet for approval soon. 

Herzog, a brigadier general (ret.), served in various high-ranking positions in the Israeli army and in the general staff. He was the military secretary of Defense Ministers Shaul Mofaz and Ehud Barak.

In recent years, he has also been a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In the course of his extensive diplomatic record, Herzog was part of a team that conducted indirect negotiations with Syria over a decade ago, when Netanyahu was prime minister.

He was also part of secret negotiations meant to reach a final status settlement between Israel and the Palestinians in 2013, led by Netanyahu's associate, Yitzhak Molcho, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' associate, the Lebanese academic Hussein Agha.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder congratulated Herzog and said he's looking forward to working with Israel's incoming ambassador on burning issues to the Jewish community in the U.S. and the diaspora.

"I heartily congratulate Michael Herzog on his appointment as Israel's next ambassador to the United States," Lauder said in a statement.

"[I] look forward to partnering with him on issues of critical importance to the Jewish community, both in the United States and around the globe," he added.   

Herzog will replace Gilad Erdan, who was appointed U.S. ambassador by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Erdan announced his intention to step down as ambassador after the Bennett-Lapid government was sworn in, and has agreed to remain in office until a replacement was found.

Erdan, who is also Israel's envoy to the United Nations, said he intends to remain in that position until the end of his term in two years, but political sources say that he will likely retire early should he announce a bid for the Likud leadership.

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