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Now is the time to be proactive on peace

Isaac Herzog ...peace feasible

''Peace with the Palestinians is feasible and now is the time to be proactive and aim for an agreement." So said MK Isaac (Buji) Herzog who addressed a packed hall at Yad Lebanim in Raanana on January 14, 2014 as a guest speaker for ESRA.

Mr. Herzog was elected chairman of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition in November 2013. He was born in Tel Aviv and educated at Tel Aviv University and at Cornell University in the United States. A lawyer by profession, he has been in the Knesset for many years holding positions including those of Minister of Tourism and Minister of Welfare and Social Services.

As Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Herzog prioritizes security and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He told the audience he had met on several occasions with both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and USA Secretary of State John Kerry. He made it clear that although the present negotiations with the Palestinians are of necessity extremely complex and difficult, it is imperative that Israel reach an agreement with the Palestinians, or at least persuade the world that we negotiate in absolute good faith and make every effort to resolve the conflict between the parties. He favors a two-state solution and noted that the outline agreement presented with the support of USA Secretary John Kerry, includes the annexation of the major settlement blocs of Gush Etzion and Maale Adumim, which should bring the great majority of those now living beyond the Green Line into Israel proper without the need for them to move their homes. He is satisfied that not only is a there a partner for peace, but that an agreement is possible at this time.

Isaac Herzog comes from an eminent family. He is the son of the late President of the State of Israel, Chaim Herzog, grandson of the late Isaac Halevy Herzog, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and nephew of the late Abba Eban.

After a short address Herzog asked for questions from the audience. He answered the very many questions fully and openly, giving the audience a chance to have a wide a number of issues dealt with. Laurence Bertfield passed the microphone around quickly and smoothly, ensuring that those who wanted to put questions to the speaker would be able to do so.

Throughout the evening the audience responded with applause to points Mr Herzog made. He raised the hope that the conflict could be resolved despite the challenges.

Mr Herzog praised ESRA and told us that he was familiar with the work ESRA does in the community. He had been informed of the fact that one member of the audience had had his Brit Mila performed by Herzog's late grandfather, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, and he asked him to stand up.

Brenda Katten, ESRA chairperson, thanking MK Herzog, expressed her appreciation and that of the audience that he had kept his commitment to address ESRA even though he had been elected chairman of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition after the invitation had been issued. He gave us a fascinating insight into the challenges facing Israel and the opportunities for trying to reach peace with the Palestinians.



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Tuesday, 05 March 2024

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