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It was with much sadness and regret that I learned of the sudden passing of Israel's sixth president, Chaim Herzog, who died of heart failure yesterday at the age of 78. Herzog served as Israel's president for two terms, spanning an entire decade from 1983 to 1993.
He was a man who had witnessed and been a major player in many of the most significant events of Israel's history since it won long-sought independence in 1948.
Herzog was born in Belfast, Ireland where, as a younger man, he was that country's national bantamweight boxing champion. He immigrated to present-day Israel in 1935 and graduated from the Hevron Yeshiva.
As a lieutenant colonel in the British army during World War II, Herzog was among the first troops at the liberation of the Bergen-Belzen concentration camp. Returning to Israel in the aftermath of the Second World War, Herzog served as a soldier in the nascent Israeli Defense Forces during the Israeli War of Independence. He went on to become Israel's chief of military intelligence, ambassador to the United Nations and chairman of the Labor Party.
Herzog became particularly well known as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations when, in 1975, he tore up a resolution equating Zionism with racism in front of the UN General Assembly, calling the body a "theater of the absurd."
I share the sorrow of the Herzog family and the entire State of Israel. --Miriam B. Goldstein '98
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