Congratulations Mr. President

For those not familiar with Israeli politics, Israel has both a prime minister and a president, with the presidential position being mostly ceremonial and the prime minister wielding the real executive power. Having said that, one presidential power—perhaps proving to be very important—is the power to determine the leader most likely to assemble a majority coalition after a Knesset election. Retiring president Reuven Rivlin has given Yair Lapid the opportunity to form the next government likely ending Netanyahu’s lengthy administration.

This week, Jewish Agency Chairman, and friend to the entire Jewish Federation system, Isaac (Bougie) Herzog was elected by the Knesset to be Rivlin’s successor and the 11th president of Israel.

Daniel Elbaum, President & CEO of Jewish Agency International Development, had this to say about Bougie:

“Nearly every single person I’ve met has a special Bougie Herzog story. Whether he’s checking in on a relative in Israel or taking an extra moment to make a person feel heard and appreciated, Bougie has always embodied the words of Maya Angelou: ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Daniel is so correct about Bougie.

Back in the summer of 2018, I shared my Bougie story. My daughter Bina had been visiting friends in Eshkol when 180 rockets were fired into the region from Hamas. After a night in the family’s reinforced safe room, the Jewish Agency decided to evacuate her first thing the next morning. That afternoon, I received a personal phone call from Bougie letting me know that my daughter was evacuated and safe in Rehovot.

To Maya Angelou’s point, I do not remember the particulars of the call, but I will not soon forget how his words made me feel.

Yasher koach to the Knesset on your selection of a real mensch; congratulations to the citizens of Israel, and mazel tov Mr. President.

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