Labor party veteran Isaac Herzog has been elected as Israel's 11th President. Israel's parliament elected Herzog in a vote as opposition lawmakers were holding negotiations to form a coalition to end Prime Minister Netanyahu's 12 straight years in office. Herzog, 60, replaces President Reuven Rivlin, who was elected in 2014 to the largely ceremonial position decided by the parliament, or Knesset. He defeated former headmistress Miriam Peretz. Herzog will assume his position on July 9.The Israeli presidency exerts little power, primarily meeting with party leaders after legislative elections and tasking candidates with forming governments. It is the country's prime minister who wields actual executive authority. Herzog won the support of an overwhelming 87 lawmakers in the 120-member house defeating his rival Miriam Peretz with a comfortable margin.
Herzog is a former head of Israel's Labor Party and opposition leader who unsuccessfully ran against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2013 parliamentary elections. He is scion of a prominent Zionist family. His father, Chaim Herzog, was Israel's ambassador to the United Nations before being elected president. His uncle, Abba Eban, was Israel's first foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations and United States. His grandfather was the country's first chief rabbi. Peretz, 67, is seen as a more conservative, nationalist candidate.She immigrated from Morocco as a child and has worked as a teacher, educator and lecturer on Judaism, Zionism and grief. Two of her sons died serving in the Israeli military. In 2018 she was awarded the Israel Prize, the country's top award, for lifetime achievement.