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conducted a 15-day hunger strike during his imprisonment in protest of the confiscation of the Tfilin he secretly brought with him. At the same time, his wife Tanya went on a hunger strike for forty days and lost twenty kilograms of her weight. Edelstein was put on trial and sentenced to three years imprisonment in a Soviet forced labor camp. During his imprisonment, there was an international fight for his release and demonstrations supporting him took place in Israel and the United States. Eventually he was released from prison several months short of his three years and on July 1, 1987 he made Aliya and settled with his family in Gush Etzion. In Israel, he first served as Vice-President of the "Zionist Forum," and later served as a Knesset Member and minister in the governments of Israel.
In March 2013, Yuli Edelstein was elected to serve as Speaker of the Knesset and in the summer of 2017, he was able to visit the prison in which he was held in the Soviet Union as Speaker of the Israeli Legislature. During his visit, he was invited to give a speech before the Russian Parliament, where he gave most of his speech in Russian but opened his speech in Hebrew:
33 years ago, I was incarcerated, here in Moscow, by the authorities of the Soviet Union for the offense of teaching the Hebrew language. I was incarcerated because I taught the language that announced to the world the rejection of tyranny and the rule of justice, the love of man and the hope of freedom. I stand before you today as the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, speaking the same language for the teaching of which I was incarcerated, and I greet you in the ancient Jewish blessing "Shalom Aleichem." Not even in my dreams did I believe I would reach this moment. For me, this is coming full circle twice: For myself, Yuli Edelstein, and for the entire Jewish people for whom I stand here as its representative.
The Aliya to Israel in the Early Nineties
Uri Gordon, who was chosen in 1987 to head the Aliya and Absorption Department of the Agency, demanded from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he fight the "dropout disgrace," which in 1988 included nine out of ten Jews who exited the Soviet Union. Shamir needed no encouragement. The Prime Minister, in cooperation with the Head of "Nativ" David Bartov, and contrary to the opinion of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and others – was convinced that pressuring the American authorities to make it difficult for Jews to immigrate to the United States was appropriate.
The pressures from Israel – with the assistance of individual Jewish-American personages – were effective. In October 1989, the United States and the Soviet Union signed an agreement whereby anyone seeking entry into the United States would have to obtain an American visa while still in the Soviet Union. Moreover: The Americans restricted the number of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union to 40 thousand per year at most. The results were apparent within a few months: Unlike in 1988 and 1989, when only two thousand Soviet Jews arrived in Israel, in 1990 their number shot up to 183,400. In 1991, 147,500 Jews made Aliya and in early 1992 another 50,000 arrived. In total,

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