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The Knesset on Wednesday elected Jewish Agency for Israel chairman Isaac Herzog as Israel’s 11th president. The vote was conducted in a special session during which Knesset members cast secret ballots for either Herzog or Israel Prize laureate Miriam Peretz.
The previous day, each candidate had arrived at the Israeli parliament with teams of up to 50 relatives, friends and professionals, who lobbied members to vote for them.
Ahead of the vote, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin reviewed the secret-ballot procedure, while Herzog and Peretz watched the proceedings from a special area of the plenum.
Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz invited each MK, alphabetically by last name, to cast his or her vote behind a curtain. All had the option of casting a white ballot, meaning a vote for neither candidate.
Once the voting was over, Levin announced a recess for the votes to be tallied. The ballot box was taken into a separate room where members of the Knesset Ballot Committee—MK David Bitan (Likud), Yosef Taieb (Shas), Emilie Moatti (Labor) and Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid)—performed the count.
The president-elect is not sworn in on the day of the voting. Incumbent President Reuven Rivlin will remain in office until July 9. His successor will be sworn in closer to that date.
“At this time of disputes, I am making a big effort to ensure that the presidential election takes place in a good atmosphere and in a way in which the president who is elected will be welcomed by everyone,” Levin told Israel Hayom.
Herzog is the son of the late Chaim Herzog, who—among other illustrious posts—served as Israel’s sixth president from 1983 to 1993.
JNS contributed to this report.