Israeli president Herzog draws crowd discussing Rabbi Sacks’ legacy

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Israeli president Herzog draws crowd discussing Rabbi Sacks’ legacy

Isaac Herzog follows Tony Blair in discussing the impact of the UK's late former Chief Rabbi in front of a Jerusalem audience

Israeli president Isaac Herzog being interviewed in Jerusalem about the legacy of the late British chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Israeli president Isaac Herzog being interviewed in Jerusalem about the legacy of the late British chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Isaac Herzog has predicted Lord Sacks’ teachings will continue to transform dialogue in the Jewish world as his legacy “grows from generation to generation”.

Israel’s president followed former British prime minister Tony Blair in taking part in the latest in a series of public events known as The Sacks Conversation, aimed at exploring his impact on the community and beyond.

In a tribute video, senior Israeli political and cultural figures including Yair Lapid, Natan Sharansky, former Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, and Naftali Bennett, all hailed Sacks and his impact.

Bennett, who was Israeli prime minister until earlier this year, called him a “proud Jew who made others proud to be Jewish,” saying: “He always had the coverage to stand up for Israel even when it wasn’t so popular, he was always there for us.”

The event at the president’s residence in Jerusalem, which was organised by the Rabbi Sacks Legacy and sponsored by the Wohl Legacy, saw Herzog interviewed in front of an audience of 200.

He was interviewed by Dr Erica Brown, director of the Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership at Yeshiva University, whose questions were based on quotes from the late chief rabbi on Israel-Diaspora relations and the contribution of the Jewish state.

Herzog said the legendary author and philosopher encouraged “debate” but stressed that that should not come at the expense of unity. “We should keep knowing the other. We are all human beings and members of one great nation.”

He urged Israel’s supporters – as Lord Sacks did – to get out the message of the country’s contribution from bringing water to parts of the world that desperately need it to innovation in medicine.

The president, who enjoyed a close relationship with Lord Sacks over many years, stressed that there was a job to be done in educating Israelis about the reality of Diaspora life and bringing the reality of Israel to Jews abroad.

“There are millions of Jews who still don’t understand what Israel is all about,” he argued, leaving them open to being turned off by misinformation.

Among those in attendance were former Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald and former Israeli ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub, who both have roles within the Rabbi Sacks Legacy.

The event was compered by fellow trustee and former MK Michal Cotler-wunsch, who spoke of the Legacy’s “awesome responsibility” in perpetuating his teachings for future generations.

Describing him as “a fearless thought leader who was prepared to engage with all”, she said he built bridges between Israel and Diaspora Jews – something the Legacy Trust wanted to continue.

The gathering enjoyed a moving performance from legendary musician Ehud Banai and was addressed by Professor David Latchman, chair of the Wohl Legacy, who said it was fitting to be honouring a great British Jewish leader in the same week as the country mourns The Queen.

Lady Elaine Sacks said her husband would have loved to have been at the event, adding how delighted she was to see educational projects taking place in his name.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: