(1955 - )
Avraham Burg, Speaker of the Fifteenth
Knesset, was born in Jerusalem in 1955.
Following his military service as
an officer in the Paratroop Division, Avraham Burg became one of the
leaders of the protest movement against the war
in Lebanon. (He was wounded by the hand grenade thrown at the
protesters of the Peace Now movement in Jerusalem that caused the death of Emil Grunzweig.)
In 1985, he was appointed by then
Prime Minister Shimon Peres to
serve as his adviser on Diaspora Affairs, a position he continued in until
1988. That year Burg was elected to the Knesset on the Alignment Party List, where he was a prominent member of the Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, the Finance Committee and the State Control
Burg was elected to the Knesset once again in 1992, having placed third on the Labor
Party list, after the late Yitzhak
Rabin and Shimon Peres.
Until 1995, he served as Chairman of the Knesset Education and Culture
In February 1995, Burg was elected
Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World
Zionist Organization and, on taking up this position, resigned from the Knesset.
Under Burg's leadership there were significant changes in the structure and
role of the National Institutions, which began to operate in several new
areas, such as the restitution
of Jewish property stolen during the Holocaust and the battle for religious pluralism and tolerance among the Jewish
people. He stepped down from this position in 1999 to run for the Knesset on the One Israel list, and in July 1999 was elected Speaker of the Knesset.
Avraham Burg's father, Dr.
Yosef Burg, was a prominent leader of the National
Religious Party, who served as minister in Israeli governments from the
first years of the state until the 1980's.
Burg is married to Yael, born in
France, a psychologist and the principal of a Jerusalem high school. They
live with their six children in Nataf, a small, mixed religious-secular
community close to Jerusalem.
Sources: Israeli Foreign