Skip to main content

Isaac Herzog sworn in as Israeli president

Newly inaugurated President Isaac Herzog pledged to work to mend the rifts and divides in Israeli society.
GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images

Isaac Herzog was formally sworn in today as the 11th president of Israel, replacing Reuven Rivlin. The ceremony took place at the Knesset, where Herzog took the oath over same Bible as his father, Chaim Herzog, who served as the country’s sixth president.

In his acceptance speech, Herzog vowed to be president for everyone. He said that with growing divides in society, the citizens of Israel clearly expect their leadership to change the tone, to lower the flames and calm things down. "I will set out … every morning to be the president for all. In normal times, this is a mission that sounds almost naive. But these days are, unfortunately, are not normal. Baseless hatred, the same factionalism and polarization are exacting a heavy price — today and every day. The heaviest price of all is the erosion of our national resilience."

Herzog noted that the last two and a half years, with four stormy elections, have left Israel in an unprecedented political crisis of the kind that "as the history of modern times teaches us, has managed in the past to destroy nations that were much more ancient and established than the young State of Israel, which is only 73 years old," he said. 

Describing what he sees as his central task as president, Herzog said, "From here I will go to the residence of the presidents of Israel, and from there to a journey between the lines of the rift and the fracture of Israeli society. A journey that aims to find what unifies within the differences, what brings together among the rifts, a journey designed to rediscover us. I will go this way to meet the pain, to face it, tilt ear and heart to the difficulty and apprehension, even on the most explosive points.’’

Ahead of the ceremony, Rivlin tweeted a note to his successor, stating in Hebrew, "The truth is that I am a little envious of you. In a short while you will discover what a great and wonderful privilege you have to be president of all of Israel's various communities — Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, young and old."

In his farewell speech at the Knesset, Rivlin stated, "For me, the State of Israel will never be something I take for granted."

Unlike former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is still living at the official residence in Jerusalem several days after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn in, Rivlin decided to leave the president’s official residence this evening. Herzog is expected to move in in two weeks after a minor renovation.

Herzog is also the grandson of late Rabbi Isaac Halevy Herzog, who served as the country’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi. A lawyer by training, he served in a variety of political positions, including as minister and as head of Israeli Labor. Before his election to president, he chaired the Jewish Agency.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Israel Briefing Israel Briefing

Israel Briefing

Top Israel stories in your inbox each week

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial