Israel Okays Appointment of Michael Herzog as Ambassador to U.S.

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

The cabinet approved the appointment of Michael Herzog, the brother of President Isaac Herzog, as ambassador to the U.S. on Sunday, as well as the appointment of former lawmaker Ronen Hoffman as ambassador to Canada. 

The appointments were approved for a period of three years, and the ambassadors will continue to serve in their roles after the planned handover of the premiership from Prime Minister Naftail Bennett to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. 

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The advisory committee on senior state appointments said it had examined Herzog's suitability "with extreme care." The committee also said that its members had endorsed Herzog's appointment after seeing that he dealt with Israeli foreign policy throughout his adult life – in the military, the Defense Ministry, the Prime Minister's Office, and his work at international research institutes.

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 Benjamin 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 when his nomination was announced last month. "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 Netanyahu.

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

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