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Cabinet approves nominations of ambassadors to US, Canada

Retired brigadier general Michael Herzog, brother of the president, tapped as envoy to Washington; former Yesh Atid MK Ronen Hoffman to take up position in Ottawa

Michael Herzog is interviewed by VOA Persian on August 11, 2019. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Michael Herzog is interviewed by VOA Persian on August 11, 2019. (Screen capture/YouTube)

The nominations of Israel’s next ambassadors to the United States and Canada were approved by ministers Sunday morning at the weekly cabinet meeting.

Retired brigadier general Michael Herzog — the brother of President Isaac Herzog — will be Israel’s envoy to Washington. Herzog, 69, served for roughly 40 years in the IDF, filling a number senior positions, including head of the army’s Strategic Planning Division as well as military secretary and chief of staff to four defense ministers.

Herzog is also a veteran negotiator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, including the talks that took place in 2013-2014, when Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister. More recently, he served as a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Jewish People Policy Institute think tanks. Herzog is also well-connected in Washington, including with senior members of the Biden administration.

Herzog will remain in the post during Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s two-plus year term as prime minister that begins in September 2023, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said last month, indicating that the government’s two leaders cooperated in the decision.

The incumbent ambassador to the US, Gilad Erdan, announced in June that he will step down from the post as soon as a new envoy is appointed. Erdan, a former minister for the Likud party, is also ambassador to the United Nations and will continue to serve in that role.

Ronen Hoffman, a former Knesset member for Yesh Atid, will serve as Israel’s ambassador to Canada. The position has been vacant since January 2020, when Nimrod Barkan stepped down.

Then-Yesh Atid MK Ronen Hoffman, Israel’s next ambassador to Canada, during a committee meeting in the Knesset, May 30, 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Hoffman came into the Knesset with Yesh Atid leader Lapid when he was a freshman upstart, serving from 2013 to 2015. In addition to heading the Israel-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Association, Hoffman chaired the Foreign Affairs and Public Diplomacy subcommittee, and served on the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

He holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, is currently a lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, and was a co-founder of the IDC’s International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

Jacob Magid and Lazar Berman contributed to this report.

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