Israeli Knesset Speaker addressed Russian Federal Assembly 33 years after Soviets arrested him

33 years after being arrested by Soviet authorities for learning Hebrew, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein addressed the upper house of the Russian Federal Assembly in a historic speech.
Edelstein, today Photo credit: Channel 2 News

This morning (Wednesday), Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein made history when he spoke in front of the upper house of the Russian Federal Assembly. Edelstein is the first Israeli leader to speak at this forum. His speech took place exactly 30 years after his release from the Soviet prison which he was put in for learning Hebrew.

“33 years ago, I was arrested here in Moscow by the Soviet authorities for studying the Hebrew language,” he said in Hebrew. “Today, I stand here before you, as Speaker of the Knesset of Israel, and in the same language for which I was imprisoned, I bless you with the ancient Jewish blessing: Shalom Aleichem.”

"Terrorism has replaced Nazism as the absolute evil" Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Edelstein continued his speech in Russian and addressed the global terror that is also striking Israel and Europe. “In the 21st century, terrorism has replaced Nazism as the absolute evil,” he said. “Almost every week, we see cars running over innocent people and suicide bombers blowing up students at concerts.”

“We must create an atmosphere of mutual respect between the different countries,” he stated.  “An atmosphere that will allow for closer cooperation in fighting terror so that no one will have to look into the eyes of a mother who has lost her only son in a terror attack. I believe this is possible. Terrorism is one and only and we can defeat it only by courageously fighting, side by side.”

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