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Alban Maginness: There has never been better time to remember contribution the Herzog family made to Belfast 

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24.10.2018

Last week saw the visit to Belfast of Isaac Herzog, the recently retired leader of the Israeli Labour Party in the Knesset. It was a low-key visit to the city, in which his father, President Chaim Herzog, was born and briefly lived as a child in Cliftonpark Avenue, just off the Cliftonville Road. The house is still standing and used to have a blue plaque honouring Chaim Herzog and his distinguished family.

In 1919, Isaac's grandfather, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, left Belfast, where he was Rabbi, and moved to Dublin and became the Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1921 until 1936.

Rabbi Isaac Herzog was a fascinating religious and political figure. He was a prolific writer and religious scholar and studied in London and at the Sorbonne in Paris.

During his tenure in office as Chief Rabbi of Ireland, he actively supported the struggle for Irish independence from Britain and was nicknamed the "Sinn Fein Rabbi".

He was so taken with the Irish struggle that he learned to speak Irish himself and became a good friend of Eamon De Valera.

Without doubt, the Irish struggle for independence strengthened him to work for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

In 1936, Isaac Herzog became Chief Rabbi of the........

© Belfast Telegraph