Ze’ev Elkin is an Israeli politician and member of the Knesset for Likud. He served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs between March 2013 and June 2014, and then became Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Elkin was born in Kharkiv, in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). Elkin was active in the Bnei Akiva movement, becoming its general secretary of the Soviet Union branch in 1990. In December that year he immigrated to Israel.
He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gaining a BA in history and mathematics in 1994 and an MA in history in the same year. Later Ze'ev Elkin was involved in academic Jewish and medieval studies, in particular, studied the works of Saadia Gaon, and was involved in Jewish education in the countries of former Soviet Union.
Elkin was elected to the 17th Knesset in 2006 as a member of Kadima and chaired the subcommittee on the absorption of immigrant children and youth. In November 2008 he decided to quit Kadima, as he considered it to have become a left-wing party. He subsequently joined Likud, and won twentieth place on its list for the 2009 elections. He retained his seat as Likud won 27 mandates.
He was subsequently re-elected again in 2013. He served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs between March 2013 and June 2014, and then became Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Elkin was placed eighth on the Likud list for the 2015 elections and was re-elected when Likud won 30 seats. After the elections, he was appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Minister of Strategic Affairs in the new government. Elkin surrendered the Strategic Affairs post after only 11 days, when Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed Gilad Erdan Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Public Diplomacy. Elkin demanded the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs portfolio as compensation for losing Strategic Affairs. Netanyahu met his demand, breaking an election promise to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, who had wanted Netanyahu to retain the portfolio himself.
On May 30, 2016, Elkin lost the portfolio of Minister of Immigrant Absorption to Sofa Landver of Yisrael Beiteinu. However, on August 1, 2016, he was appointed Minister of Environmental Protection, succeeding Avi Gabbay.
He was re-elected to the Knesset in April 2019, September 2019, and March 2020. In May 2020 he was appointed to the newly created posts of Minister of Higher Education and Minister of Water Resources in the new government.
Photo: Wikimedia, By Elkin Zeev - (Received by email) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons