Leaders of US, PA, UAE and Bahrain offer condolences to Herzog over mother’s death

Putin, Erdogan, Jordan’s Abdullah, Egypt’s Sissi, Spanish king, presidents of Singapore, Georgia and Greece also among the many reaching out to mourning Israeli president

People carry the coffin of Aura Herzog, wife of late president Chaim Herzog, and mother of current President Isaac Herzog, during her funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on January 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
People carry the coffin of Aura Herzog, wife of late president Chaim Herzog, and mother of current President Isaac Herzog, during her funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on January 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A flood of world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, reached out to President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday to extend their condolences over the passing of his mother.

Biden sent Herzog a letter in which he called Aura Herzog “an extraordinary individual who dedicated her life to the nation she loved. In this time of sorrow, I hope you find comfort in reflecting on the lives she touched over her many years of service to her country.”

In a handwritten message at the bottom of the letter, Biden added, “Your mother was someone who I admired greatly. To this day, I feel honored that I met her.”

Herzog’s office said Abbas phoned the president, telling him, “There is no doubt that the loss of a mother is a very difficult loss. I share in your sorrow.”

In his own call to Herzog, UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, “shared that he identifies with the president’s sorrow, having lost his own father,” according to the Israeli readout.

“For each of us, the mother is the closest and dearest person, her death is an irreparable loss. I sincerely share your grief. I wish you and your family courage and fortitude in this difficult hour,” Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in a message to Herzog.

“Knowing very well that mothers’ places can never be fulfilled, I wholeheartedly share your sorrow, and wish sincere condolences on behalf of my nation and myself,” wrote Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Bahrain’s King Hamad Al Khalifa wrote: “We extend our sincere condolences to Your Excellency and to the family of the deceased, praying to God Almighty to bestow mercy and forgiveness on the deceased, and for your excellency and her relatives patience and solace.”

Among the other well-wishers were the king of Jordan, king of Spain, presidents of Egypt, France, Greece, Singapore, Ecuador, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Cyprus, as well as leaders from Brazil, Rwanda, Guatemala, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Jewish leaders from around the world, Herzog’s office said.

President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal attend the funeral of his mother Aura Herzog at Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem, January 12, 2022. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Aura Herzog, who was also the widow of Israel’s sixth president Chaim Herzog, was laid to rest at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery on Wednesday after her death earlier this week at the age of 97.

Herzog (née Ambash) was born in Egypt after her parents were expelled from Jaffa by the Turks during World War I. She completed a degree in math and physics in South Africa before immigrating to Israel in 1946 and joining the Haganah, the defense organization that was the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces.

She then joined a diplomatic course, met Chaim Herzog and married him in 1947. During the War of Independence she served as a soldier in Military Intelligence and later in the Science Corps. She was seriously wounded in a bombing attack in 1948 at Jerusalem’s National Institutions House.

Aura Herzog in 1983 (Sa’ar Ya’acov)

Herzog served in various public positions over the years. After being one of the organizers of Israel’s 10th anniversary celebrations, she helped found the International Bible Contest, which is still held annually on Independence Day.

In 1968 she founded the Council for a Beautiful Israel, a nonprofit environmental group that remains active to this day, and led it for 40 years.

From 1983 to 1993, Chaim Herzog served as Israel’s sixth president, during which time she continued her communal work. After her husband’s death in 1997, Herzog led efforts to commemorate his life and work.

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