Back in the USSR: Knesset Speaker’s emotional return

MOSCOW – Emotions were high throughout Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s visit to Moscow this week. Sometimes, Edelstein seemed to be at a loss for words, but when he found them, he said things like “mirage” or “not in my wildest dreams.”

What could describe the feeling of standing before the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, and speaking in Hebrew, 33 years after he was sentenced to hard labor in the gulag for teaching that very same language?

His speech was only the first of a series of touching moments on Wednesday. The Knesset and Israeli Embassy in Russia organized a day that may as well have been titled: “Yuli Edelstein – This is Your Life.” The delegation made stop after stop at sites from his life as a refusenik, and Edelstein was a fount of stories and details. Continue reading


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