Michael Herzog, the brother of President Isaac Herzog, is the leading candidate for the U.S. ambassadorship, government sources said Thursday, after both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid agreed to his appointment.
Herzog is set to replace Likud man Gilad Erdan, who was appointed U.S. ambassador by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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The expected appointment was first reported by the Jerusalem Post. Should the appointment come through, Herzog will continue to hold the position even after the scheduled rotation between Bennett and Lapid in the Prime Minister's Office.
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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.
Herzog, a brigadier general (ret.), served in various high-ranking positions in the Israeli army and in the general staff, and was the military secretary of defense ministers Shaul Mofaz and Ehud Barak. More recently, he has 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.