Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein was once a Russian prisoner in Siberia, jailed for his Zionist beliefs and called the "Prisoner of Zion." But now, The Times of Israel's Marissa Newman reports, the Israeli politician has spoken in the nation that once imprisoned him, asking for help in defeating Islamist extremism, "the Nazism of the 21st century":
“Even in my best dreams, I didn’t believe I would reach this moment,” Edelstein told Russian lawmakers in Hebrew, the language that in 1984 landed him a three-year forced labor sentence for covertly teaching.
“Shalom aleichem!” he greeted the Russian lawmakers, to applause.
In his 15-minute speech, split between Hebrew and Russian, the Knesset speaker cast Islamist terrorism as the “Nazism of the 21st century,” appealing to Russian national pride over its defeat of the Nazis during World War II with a call to likewise vanquish the new brand of “absolute evil...”
“For over years, tidings have come from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, of justice and the war against evil,” he said. “Even today, Jerusalem is leading the fight against terrorism, and we will not rest until we win this war and peace is achieved.”
In his address, the Knesset speaker outlined security threats facing Israel, from Hezbollah in the north to Hamas in the south.
“Behind Hezbollah and Hamas stands Iran,” which aspires for regional expansion and “spreads its ideologies of hatred of mankind, which threaten all the nations of the world,” he added...