Herzog, Ya'acov David

   Rabbi Dr. Ya'acov (Jacob) David Herzog was an Israeli diplomat, lawyer, rabbinic scholar, and political adviser. The second son of the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine and the state of Israel, Isaac Halevi Herzog (1888-1959) and the brother of the 6th president of Israel, Chaim Herzog (1917-97), Ya'acov David Herzog was born on 21 December 1921 in Dublin, Ireland, and settled in mandatory Palestine in 1939. He was a member of Hagana intelligence during the British mandate. His education included rabbinic ordination, a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a doctorate in international law from the University of Ottawa. In 1949, Herzog joined Israel's foreign ministry and headed the Jerusalem and Christian Affairs Department, later heading the North America Division. He served as personal adviser to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion during the Sinai War (1956). While serving as Israel's ambassador to Canada (1960-1963), Herzog famously debated Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state with British scholar Arnold Toynbee at McGill University. He is acknowledged as the principal architect and implementer of Israel's early diplomatic relations with the Catholic Church and the Vatican. His reputation as a Talmudic scholar led to his being offered the position of chief rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, which he declined. From 1965 until his premature death, Herzog served as director general of the prime minister's office under Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir. As their key political adviser, he was the first senior Israeli official to meet King Hussein of Jordan in 1963 and to establish a secret diplomatic channel, mainly in London, England, that ultimately culminated in the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. Herzog died in 1972 in Jerusalem.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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