Source: Associated Press
By ARON HELLER
JERUSALEM (AP) — Three years after he narrowly missed out on becoming prime minister of Israel, Isaac Herzog says he looks forward to becoming the “prime minister of the Jewish people” in his new role as chairman of the Jewish Agency.
The longtime Cabinet minister and outgoing opposition leader to Benjamin Netanyahu may be done with politics for now. But at a time of unprecedented strain between Israel and the more liberal Jewish Diaspora, the 57-year-old Herzog tells The Associated Press Monday he sees an even higher calling in heading the non-governmental organization devoted to bridging that gap.
“I was ready to be prime minister of Israel. I wanted to be prime minister of Israel. And yet now I am actually intrigued by this new challenge,” he said from his nearly vacated office in parliament, where he had just resigned after 15 years in the Knesset. “We live in an era where we can drift into an irreparable crisis, an irreparable rift.”
Most American Jews belong to the more liberal Reform and Conservative streams and feel alienated by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox authorities, who maintain a strict monopoly over daily Jewish life in the Holy Land and question their faith and practices. The ultra-Orthodox establishment views other strains as too lax, and is deeply opposed to interfaith marriage and the ordination of women and gays.