Michael Herzog was born on July 15, 1952, in Israel. He is the son of Chaim Herzog, who was the sixth President of Israel and earlier an army general and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and of Aura Herzog. His paternal grandfather was Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, chief rabbi of Ireland and Israel. His uncle Yaakov Herzog served as the Israeli ambassador to Canada. His younger brother Isaac Herzog is the eleventh President of Israel.
Herzog was an infantry soldier in the 1973 War and later joined the Intelligence Corps (1974-1994).
Since 1993, Herzog has played a key role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, participating in most of Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Syrians, including the Wye Plantation summit, Camp David summit, the Taba negotiations, and the Annapolis summit and subsequent negotiations.
He served as first as deputy (1995-1998) and then head of the Strategic Planning Division (1998-2001) in the ministry of defense.
From November 2001 to July 2004, he served as senior military aide to the minister of defense. In that capacity, he functioned as the liaison between the defense minister and the IDF, prime minister’s office, intelligence community, and Israeli defense establishment.
A retired brigadier general, Herzog was a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. (2004-2006). His published work at the Institute included the study, Iranian Public Opinion on the Nuclear Program: A Potential Asset for the International Community, and the influential Foreign Affairs article, “Can Hamas Be Tamed?”
He also was a Senior Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) and director of the Forum for Strategic Dialogue (FSD).
From September 2006 to October 2009, Herzog served as chief of staff to Israel’s minister of defense and, the following year, served as special emissary to the prime minister and minister of defense.
Herzog was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 2021. In his first interview, Herzog told Jewish Insider, “I would like Jews in America to feel that when we talk about Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people that they are, in one way or another, stakeholders.” He said, “I think what needs to be done is to foster a dialogue with as many Jewish groups as possible – the tent is a big one and we have to talk to everyone inside the tent.” His goal, he added, is “to bring a message of dialogue and building bridges.”
The Israeli government’s top priority is the threat from Iran so he will be relaying the government’s position to the Biden administration. He said he would also focus on “the need for broad bipartisan support for Israel in the U.S.,” as well as countering the “international campaign to delegitimize Israel, which is also prevalent in the U.S.”
Speaking to Israeli Consuls General in the United States, Herzog said, “There is no doubt that President Biden is a true friend of Israel. Together, with the administration, we will work to deepen our cooperation.” He added: “Bipartisan support for Israel is a fundamental component of our relations with the United States and I intend to work with both Democrats and Republicans to keep Israel a non-partisan issue.”
He is married to attorney Shirin Herzog and father of two.
Sources: “Michael Herzog,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“Michael Herzog,” Wikipedia.
Ruth Marks Eglash, “An interview with Michael Herzog, Israel’s incoming ambassador to the U.S.,” Jewish Insider, (September 20, 2021).
“Ambassador Michael Herzog,” Embassy of Israel to the United States.