JERUSALEM, Nov. 12 (JTA) – A Russian priest who is the father of an Israeli Cabinet minister came to Israel this week. Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein was in the audience when his father lectured on religion and politics in Russia after the fall of communism. Father George Edelstein, who serves in a church near Moscow, is the son of a Jewish father and Christian mother. He and his Jewish wife converted to Christianity in the 1970s. His son, Yuli, remained Jewish and is religiously observant. Speaking to reporters this week, George Edelstein said that visiting Jerusalem this week had deepened his sense of his past. “I am proud of my Jewish roots. A man with the name Edelstein could not deny them,” he said. He added that he was less than awed by his son’s position in the government. “I am not impressed by titles and by the fact that my son is a minister. It’s more important to me that he is a man of principles and ethics.” Yuli Edelstein was an aliyah activist and Hebrew teacher in Moscow during the Soviet era. A Prisoner of Zion from 1984-1987, he immigrated to Israel in 1987. An adviser to then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu from 1993- 1994, he was one of the co-founders of the immigrant-rights party Yisrael Ba’Aliyah in 1995 and headed the party’s election campaign last year. He was appointed to the Cabinet when Netanyahu formed his government in June 1996.
Russian priest visits son, Israel’s absorption minister