Chaim Herzog

Belfast born sixth President of Israel

Chaim Herzog was born in Belfast in September 1918 near the Cliftonville Road. After two years in the city, Herzog’s father was appointed Chief Rabbi of Ireland and the family moved to Dublin in 1919. In 1935, Herzog moved to British administered Palestine, where he studied at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and enrolled in David Ben-Gurion’s underground military organization, the Haganah.

As a student in London, from 1938, Herzog was instructed by his Haganah superiors to join the Officer Training Corps. Following his graduation he volunteered for service in the British army and was called up in December 1942. As an intelligence officer with the Guards division in 1944, Herzog saw at first hand the liberation of Bergen Belsen and other concentration camps.

On his return to post war Palestine, Herzog joined the Haganah Intelligence Division and on the foundation of the state of Israel, the Israeli Defence Forces. He served during the war of Independence and reached the rank of major general on his retirement from the IDF in 1962. He was the first military governor of the West Bank following the Six Day war in 1967 and represented Israel at the United Nations from 1975 until 1978, where he denounced the 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism.

Elected to the Knesset in 1981, Herzog served two terms as President of Israel between 1983 and 1993. He died in 1997.

Further Reading:
Living History: A Memoir (1997) by Chaim Herzog