Prime Minister of Israel appoints Mike Herzog as new Ambassador to Washington
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday appointed Mike Herzog as Israel’s next ambassador to Washington. Herzog, who is one of Israel’s most experienced and respected strategic thinkers, is the brother of Israeli President Issac Herzog.
Why is this important: Herzog will be a key player in establishing the relationship between Israel’s new government and the Biden administration – navigating differences on thorny issues like the Iran nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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The big picture: The Israeli government has come very close to the Republican Party during Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years as prime minister, mostly under the Trump administration.
Between the lines: Herzog is very different from Netanyahu’s confidant Ron Dermer, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington for eight years and was seen by Democrats as a Republican political agent.
Herzog, who has worked in recent years as a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is well known and respected in US foreign and national security policy circles. He maintains close ties with Democrats and Republicans.
Herzog maintains personal and professional relationships with many senior officials in the Biden administration, including Secretary of State Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and many other senior officials in the White House, State Department. , the Pentagon and the CIA.
Herzog is a centrist and a moderate. He supports a two-state solution and has opposed Netanyahu’s public confrontation with Obama over the Iran deal – including his speech to Congress in March 2015.
Go back: Herzog, 69, is a reserve lieutenant general and served for 40 years in the Israeli military intelligence and defense ministry. He was chief of staff and military adviser to four Israeli defense ministers.
Herzog has participated in numerous rounds of talks between Israel and the Palestinians – most recently between 2009-2014 under the Obama administration – and worked closely with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
He was Prime Minister Netanyahu’s envoy to secret talks with Palestinian President Hussein Agha’s confidant between 2013 and 2014.
And after: Herzog is expected to be confirmed by the government soon and could participate in Bennett’s trip to Washington later in August.
Herzog will be appointed for a four-year term and will remain Ambassador when Foreign Minister Yair Lapid takes over as prime minister in less than two years – if the government manages to hold on until then.
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