Isaac Herzog, the son of a former president, took the helm of Israel’s Labor Party and thus Parliament’s opposition on Friday, vowing to restore the party’s historic focus on promoting peace with the Palestinians and to mount a vigorous challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-leaning government...
A lawyer universally known as Buji and a father of three, Mr. Herzog, 53, hails from a beloved Israeli dynasty: His father, Chaim Herzog, a military man and diplomat, served as Israel’s sixth president, from 1983 to 1993, and his grandfather Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the modern state.
Mr. Herzog, who has served in Parliament since 2003 and held several ministerial posts, replaced Shelly Yacimovich, a former journalist who emphasized domestic socioeconomic concerns during her two years leading Labor, and was virtually invisible on the international stage.
He takes over after a decade of decline for Labor and the broader Israeli left, as the psychological scars of the violent second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, have made a majority of the public deeply skeptical about settling the long-running conflict. He won with a decisive 58 percent over Ms. Yacimovich’s 41 percent in primary elections on Thursday that drew a low turnout among party members, with only 52 percent voting...
He was a top aide to Ehud Barak during his tenure as prime minister, the minister of housing under Ariel Sharon, and then minister of tourism and then of welfare in Ehud Olmert’s government.