Avraham Avrum Burg is one of Israel s best-known social critics. Author, politician, businessman, television personality and popular Bible scholar, he has served as speaker of Israel's parliament, chairman of the executive of the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency for Israel and one of the early activists of the Peace Now protest movement.
Born in Jerusalem to one of Israel's leading Orthodox political families, Burg served as a lieutenant in the paratroop brigade during the 1982 Lebanon War. His speech that September at the mass peace rally following the notorious Beirut massacre electrified Israelis and confirmed him as an essential voice of his nation s conscience. During the mid-1980s he served as Diaspora affairs adviser to Prime Minister Shimon Peres and offered a weekly Friday evening Torah commentary on Israel Television that made him one of his country s most familiar and popular public figures. In 1988 he was elected to the Knesset and went on to serve two terms, emerging as a champion of religious pluralism, women s rights and the environment as well as Israeli-Palestinian peace. He resigned from the legislature in 1995 to run for chairman of the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency, and returned to the Knesset as Speaker in 1999. He retired from politics in 2004.
Today, from his home in the village of Nataf in the Jerusalem hills, Avrum Burg writes, lectures and continues his outspoken advocacy of peace, religious pluralism and the environment.
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