In eulogizing Yaacov Herzog, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin said:
Yaacov Herzog was endowed by the Creator with gifts seldom found in combination; he had a cool, subtle and powerful brain, a pure and warm heart, nobility of character and a simple and untroubled moral vision.
Dr. Yaacov Herzog was a rabbi, Torah scholar, doctor of international law, diplomat, and advisor to prime ministers. These are just a few of the milestones in his life, which was filled with a love of Israel, love of human beings by virtue of their humanness, deep religious faith, liberalism, and devoted service to the Jewish people.
Yaacov Herzog was born in Dublin, Ireland on December 21, 1921. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Harry Fischel Institute in Jerusalem, completed his legal studies at the Hebrew University, and earned his doctorate in international law from the University of Ottawa.
Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, Yaacov Herzog served in military intelligence for the “Haganah.”
After the state was established, he was an advisor on Jerusalem affairs in the Foreign Ministry (1948-1954); Head of the North American Division in the Foreign Ministry (1954-1957); Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Ben Gurion during the Suez Crisis (1956-1957); Attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. (1957-1960); Israeli Ambassador to Canada (1960-1963); Director of The Prime Minister’s Office and Policy Advisor to Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir from 1965 until his death in 1972.