Chaim Herzog (1918-1997)
Major General in the IDF, attorney, politician and the sixth President of the State.

Herzog was born in Ireland in 1918. His father, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, was the Chief Rabbi of the Irish Jewish Community from 1921-1936 as well as the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of the Yishuv in Israel and of the State of Israel from 1936 to 1959.

Chaim Herzog was educated in the "Mercaz HaRav" and "Hebron" yeshivas and at the British Mandate Government's law school. His studies continued in London and Cambridge and he was qualified to be an advocate in Britain.

Herzog was a member of the Hagana during the Arab Revolt that took place from 19361939 and he later served in the British Army during the Second World War in which he participated in Operation Overlord. Towards the end of the war he headed the British intelligence operations in Northern Germany. After the war he finished his studies at the National War College and returned to Israel.

In 1948 he was appointed as director of the Defense Department in the Jewish Agency. After the establishment of the state he took part in the War of Independence by serving as the operations officer for the 7th Brigade, which took part in the battles of Latrun. In the years 19481950 and 19591962 Herzog was the Head of the Intelligence Department (later the Intelligence Directorate) of the IDF. From 19501954 he served as the Military Attache in Washington and Canada, he then became the Commander of the Jerusalem District and Commander of the Southern Command (19571959). Herzog retired from military service in 1962 with the rank of Major General.

Until 1972 he was the director of an industrial company in Israel and from 19721983 he was a senior partner at a law firm in Tel Aviv that specialized in representing large corporations. In 1965, he joined the Rafi party and was the secretary of their branch in Tel Aviv. During the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, Herzog was a commentator for "Kol Israel" radio broadcasts. Following the Six Day War he was appointed as Military Governor of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

From 1975 to 1979 Herzog was Israel's standing Representative to the United Nations. After the acceptance of UN Resolution 3379 in 1975, comparing Zionism with racism, he rose from his seat and tore the resolution. In his position, he also explained Operation Entebbe to the General Assembly. Herzog was appointed as the President of the Israel Sci-Tech Schools Global Network. In 1970 he was awarded a mark of honor from the British Kingdom.

Upon his return from New York he joined the Labor Party and was elected on its behalf to the Tenth Knesset (1981-1983).

Herzog retired from the Knesset upon his inauguration as President of the State in 1983. He was elected to a second term in 1988. Herzog was the first Israeli president to visit the US and Germany in an official capacity. In 1986 he pardoned 11 senior Shin Bet officers who were involved in the "Bus 300 Affair," thus helping to bring the affair to a close. He also pardoned most members of the Jewish underground who were convicted of attacking Palestinians.

In 1990 Herzog angered the Likud when, following the collapse of the government in a no-confidence motion in the Knesset, he first tasked Labor Party Chairman Shimon Peres with forming a new government. In 1993 he returned to the private sector.

Herzog passed away on April 17, 1997. He was buried at Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem.

State Symbol - Menora and Olive Branches
Copyright 2014, The State of Israel. All Rights Reserved.
We welcome your Suggestions and Comments. Email: