Opposition leader Isaac Herzog criticized the government on Sunday night for not taking into account the effects of its actions on Jewish communities in the Diaspora.
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Speaking to a large gathering of young internationals in Tel Aviv, Herzog said the government’s responsibilities were not limited to protecting and defending the citizens of Israel. “The impact on the Jewish community is not discussed enough in the corridors and halls of power in Israel,” said Herzog, the co-leader of the Zionist Union party and the key challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this month’s election. “They mention it here and there, but it’s not a factor in the decision-making process of Israeli leaders, and I think it should be taken into account. It should be taken into account in the analysis of where we are at and what decisions we should take. There are things we say and there are steps that sometimes we take that go way beyond what we need to do, and they have an effect on the Diaspora.”
Herzog was speaking at an event organized by the Tel Aviv International Salon, a non-profit that organizes events for the city’s growing young immigrant population. Describing himself as a “true Anglo,” the opposition leader noted that his father’s family had roots in England and Ireland and that he had attended Ramaz High School in Manhattan before studying at Cornell and NYU. “I come from you guys,” he said.
His father, the late Chaim Herzog, had served as Israeli ambassador to the United Nations before being appointed president of Israel.
Herzog’s wife, Michal, who usually stays out of the public eye, also attended the event. When her husband noted that she, too, had an Anglo connection, having grown up in Toronto, the crowd burst into applause.
When a member of the audience, before posing a question to the Labor party leader, introduced herself by mentioning that she was from Vancouver, Herzog responded jokingly: “And you came here? Are you meshugeh?”