The speaker of the Israeli Parliament begins three-day visit to Russia

© Photo : Yuri LevinЮлий Edelstein. Archive photoThe speaker of the Israeli Parliament begins three-day visit to Russia© Photo : Yuri Levin

The speaker of the Israeli Parliament Yuli Edelstein begins Tuesday a three-day visit to Moscow, where he will be rewarded with a rare foreign guest of honor to speak from the rostrum of the Council of Federation, has informed a press-service of the Knesset.

For Edelstein, this is the first visit to Russia in his present capacity.

«The purpose of the visit was to further improve the already excellent relations between Israel and Russia and, in particular, to strengthen inter-parliamentary ties is the direction that we are actively developing. These relations are now excellent and include deep cooperation and friendship in various fields», — quotes Edelstein’s parliamentary press service.

Russian-speaking Israeli speaker was invited to speak at the plenary session of the Federation Council and intends to give a speech in Hebrew.

«Not all foreign delegations led by the speakers even… have the opportunity to speak in a plenary session. This opportunity we give only to our really important and strategic partners. Of course, Israel belongs to them», — said the head of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev, who last week visited Israel.

Edelstein goes on the invitation of the head of the upper house of the Russian Parliament Valentina Matvienko, who last year visited the Knesset. Besides Matviyenko, he plans to meet with state Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the deputies of both chambers of the Russian Parliament, the leadership of the Jewish community.

In the message a press-services of the Knesset also stated that the visit coincides with the «30 anniversary of the liberation Edelstein from Soviet prison» and will include visits to places related to this episode in his life.

Soviet dissident and refusenik, son of a Russian Orthodox priest after moving to Israel in 1987 was one of the originators of the party of Russian-speaking immigrants «Yisrael BA-Aliya» seven times in succession was elected a Deputy, was Minister of aliyah and immigrant absorption (immigration and adaptation of immigrants), Minister of information and Diaspora relations and for the second time in a row heads the Knesset.

«I can’t stop thinking about the amazing symbolism of the situation when one who was a prisoner in a Soviet prison, will speak before the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation as Chairman of the Knesset of the state of Israel,» said Edelstein.