Avraham Burg is an Israeli author, politician and businessman. He was a member of the Knesset, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Speaker of the Knesset, and Interim President of Israel. Burg was the first Speaker of the Knesset to have been born in Israeli territory after independence in 1948. A member of the Labor Party when he was a member of the Knesset, Burg announced in January 2015 that he had joined Hadash.
After being wounded by a grenade in 1983 during a peace rally against the Lebanon war, Burg’s rage against the state of affairs convinced him to get involved and make a difference. By the mid-1980s, he was Shimon Peres’ advisor on Diaspora Affairs and in 1988 was elected to the Knesset. In 1995 he took over as head of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). Under his leadership, he oversaw the immigration to Israel of over half-a-million Jews.
In 1999, at age 44, Burg was elected Speaker of the Knesset. In a bold move that captivated national and international audiences, he became the first Speaker to invite his Palestinian counterpart to address the Parliament.
Burg participated in the 2003 pro-peace Geneva Accords initiatives, a negotiated peace agreement among Israeli and Palestinian civic leaders.
In 2004 Burg published God is Back, which addresses some of the most critical issues pertaining to religion and society in Israel and the Middle East. The book immediately climbed to #1 on Israel's bestsellers list and will soon be available in English.
Burg has written for such publications as The Guardian and the International Herald Tribune and has appeared on various television programs, including CNN's Crossfire and CBS's The Early Show.
Currently, Burg is leading a British-Israeli investment company in hopes of attracting funds to strengthen businesses in Israel.
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