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February 5, 2015 11:59 am

Jewish 100, 2014: Yuli Edelstein – Government

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Yuli Edelstein. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Yuli Edelstein

Speaker of the Knesset

For Yuli Edelstein, born in the Soviet Union, the determination to make aliyah to Israel earned him the wrath of that country’s ruling Communist Party. One of the last of the refuseniks – Soviet Jews prevented from emigrating to Israel – Edelstein was deported to the Siberian gulag in 1984, before being released the following year. Now one of Israel’s most recognizable politicians, Edelstein became the Speaker of the Knesset in 2013. Hawkish on matters of security, Edelstein is also dedicated to improving coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel, working with Arab Knesset members on social issues. As he said in a 2014 interview, “I have been in the Knesset for almost 19 years…I believe in coexistence and fighting against those who harm it.”

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