Herzog, Chaim (1918–1997)
HERZOG, CHAIM (1918–1997)
Israeli military and political figure born in 1918, in Belfast (Ireland), died in 1997. In 1936, Chaim Herzog came to Israel, where he joined up with the Haganah. Two years later he returned to Great Britain to study law. At the outbreak of World War II he enlisted in the British Army, where he served as an officer in the intelligence service. In 1946 he married Ora Ambash, whose sister was the wife of Abba Eban. He finished his legal studies in Palestine and became the head of the security section of the Jewish Agency. At the time of the first Arab-Israel war in 1948, he was assigned to the Israeli intelligence services. Two years later he was named military attaché to the Israeli embassy in Washington. In 1957 he returned to Israel and became commander of the Central military region. After three years as commander Herzog was promoted to the rank of general and became head of the Aman (Israeli military intelligence service). Two years later, he resigned from the army to start a law career and then a political one. In 1965 he joined the
RAFI Party, along with David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres. In June, during the 1967 War, he became the leading military commentator on Israel's national radio, Kol Israel. After the war's end, he resumed his service in the Israel Defense Force to become the first military governor of the occupied West Bank. In 1969 he quit the army for a career in the Israel Labor Party. In 1975 he was named Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. In 1983, two years after having been elected Member of Knesset on the Labor ticket, he was a candidate to succeed Yitzhak Navon as the president of the Jewish state. Much to everyone's surprise, he was elected to the presidency, partly owing to the backing of the Sephardi party, TAMI. In 1988 he was reelected for a second term. Herzog died in Apri1 1997, at the age of 79. For many Israelis he remains "the president of the Jewish people" because of the great efforts he made to tighten the ties between the Diaspora and the Jewish state.