Aura Herzog, the mother of President Isaac Herzog and the wife of the late President Chaim Herzog, passed away overnight Sunday at her home, aged 97.
Herzog was a prominent public woman and social and environmental activist for many years and the founder of the Council for a Beautiful Israel.
She will be buried next to her husband, the sixth president of Israel, on Mount Herzl. Details of her funeral will be made public later.
Herzog was born in Ismailia, Egypt, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family of Russian-Jewish and Polish-Jewish descent. Her parents were Leah Steinberg (the daughter of Yechiel Michal Steinberg, the founding family of Motza, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem), and Simcha Ambash (an acronym for "I believe in complete faith", in Hebrew), an engineer by profession. Her parents had four children, her sister Suzy later married diplomat Abba Eban.
Chaim and Aura Herzog had four children: Attorney Yoel Herzog, Brigadier General Michael Herzog, who currently serves as Israel’s Ambassador to the US, President Isaac Herzog, and Ronit, a clinical psychologist.
From 1950 to 1954, she accompanied her husband in his roles as military attaché in the United States, and again from 1975 to 1978 as the wife of the ambassador to the United Nations.
She served as the Director General of the Committee for the celebration of the First Decade of the State of Israel (1958) and initiated the first Bible Quiz, which thereafter takes place every year on independence day.
From 1959 to 1968, she headed the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Education and Culture and was a member of the Council for Arts and Culture. In 1969 she founded the Council for a Beautiful Israel.
In 1969, she founded the Council for a Beautiful Israel, a leading environmental protection NGO and chaired it for 38 years, after which she became its international president.