Corrine Brown

Concerning The Death Of Chaim Herzog - May 13, 1997

Corrine Brown
May 13, 1997— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Mr. Speaker, yesterday the House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution honoring one of Israel's greatest leaders--President Chaim Herzog.

I want to express my true sympathies to Chaim Herzog's family and the people of Israel for having recently lost one of their favorite sons.

Born in 1918, Chaim Herzog was son to Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, the Chief Rabbi of Ireland. To protect his son from the hazards of the Irish revolution, the elder Herzog sent his son from Dublin's Irish-Jewish ghetto to Palestine for schooling. In his formative years, Judaism taught him to respect the law so greatly that Herzog went on to eventually receive his bachelor of law degree at the University of London and a degree of barrister at law from The Honorable Society of Lincoln's Inn in London.

But Herzog's belief in one true Jewish homeland was never far from his heart. He returned to Jerusalem in 1935 and served in the Jewish Defense Forces, commonly known as the Haganah, during the Arab revolt that lasted from 1936 to 1938.

As Nazi Germany's evil empire began to overtake Europe, Herzog knew of his obligation to fight for and protect the Jewish Diaspora. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Herzog fought in World War II for the British Army, rising up to be the head of intelligence in northern Germany.

As one of the first soldiers to liberate the concentration camp of Bergen Belsen, Herzog was left with an indelible impression of the horrors of the Holocaust. This experience underscored his belief that Jews needed their own homeland.

Soon after his return to Palestine, Herzog fought in 1948 as an officer in Latrun, one of the bloodiest battles in Israel's War of Independence. From Herzog's success as an officer and intelligence experience in World War II, he created Israel's superb military intelligence infrastructure. In fact, he served as the head of the Israeli Defense Force's Military Intelligence Branch from 1948 to 1950 and 1959 to 1962. In between his terms as intelligence head, Herzog served as defense attache in Washington, DC., at the Israeli Embassy. He continued to further his military career until 1962, when Herzog retired from active duty as a Major General.

When one would have preferred a private life at this point in his life, Herzog was thrust back into the military arena as the leading military commentator on Israeli radio during the 1967 Six-Day War. After the war, Herzog was appointed as the first military governor of the West Bank.

At the age of 57, Herzog made the jump from military leader to diplomat. In 1975, Herzog was sent to New York to serve as the country's Ambassador to the United Nations. During the 3-year period he served as the Ambassador, Herzog is most known for speaking against the U.N. resolution that equates Zionism with racism.

Herzog continued his political career when, in 1981, he was elected to Israel's Parliament, the Knesset, on the Labor Party ticket. As a Member of the 10th Knesset, Herzog served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. in 1983, he was chosen as the sixth President of the State of Israel. From there, Herzog went on to be the longest serving President in Israeli history until 1993.

Throughout his life, Herzog has reported his life's observations. Some of his national writings include "The Arab-Israeli Wars," "Israel's Finest Hour," and "The War of Atonement." In his final book, "Living History," Herzog writes:

"When I disembark, I hope that everything my generation and I dreamed of and fought for will have come true I pray that the world will have taken even greater steps toward Democracy and the guarantee of human rights, and that dignity will have become the universally accepted value of mankind."

Because of Chaim Herzog, I believe his dreams have come true. President Herzog--a soldier, a diplomat, and a voice to the world. He has truly been a light unto the nations.

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