Isaac Herzog, 60, was elected as the 11th president of the State of Israel today by a vote of 87 to 33 Knesset members. The vote taken via secret ballot. Herzog is the current Jewish Agency chairman and a former head of the Labor party. His father, Chaim Herzog, was the 6th president of Israel and his grandfather was the country’s first chief rabbi. His father immigrated to Israel from Ireland in 1935. The job of president is primarily ceremonial, similar to the monarchy in England.
Today is the last day for Yair Lapid to form a government. Demands by Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked for a seat on the Judicial Selection Committee, a position already promised to Labor leader Merav Michaeli, and by Ra’am leader Abbas to reverse, or at least temporarily suspend, a law that facilitates the demolition of homes build in violation of code (which is prevalent in Arab communities) threaten the formation of a unity coalition.
David Barnea, 56, is the new director of the Mossad. Barnea said that Israel would take any steps necessary to assure that Iran does not get nuclear weapons, despite any international agreements that could be in effect.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz is due to meet with US defense secretary Lloyd Austin and national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington today.
Defense Ministry officials said that Israel’s military exports reached $8.3 billion in 2020, a 15% increase from the previous year. That makes Israel one of the world’s top 10 exporters of arms. Sales to Asia and the Pacific region, including Israel’s allies in the Persian Gulf, comprised 44%, with 30% going to Europe, 20% to North America, 4% to Africa and 2% to Latin America. Israel does not do business with dictatorships or controversial regimes. Israel is the top supplier of arms to Azerbaijan.