Yuli Edelstein was born in the city of Chernowitz (then part of the Soviet Union, now the Ukraine) in 1958.
Edelstein was active in Zionist circles in Moscow and studied Hebrew in secret. He was arrested by the K.G.B. in 1984 on false charges of drug possession and sentenced to 3 years in a Soviet forced labor camp. After imprisonment in the gulag, he was released and immediately immigrated to Israel with his family.
Edelstein was one of the founders and leaders of the Yisrael Ba’Aliyah party. When the Yisrael Ba’Aliyah faction joined the government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, he was appointed Minister for Immigrant Absorption and remained in this position until 1999.
Since March 2007, Yuli Edelstein has been the deputy chairman of the Knesset and a member of various Knesset committees. As part of his Parliamentary activity, he set up the lobby to promote conversion in Israel, whose aim is to significantly increase the number of converts to Judaism each year. In addition, he was re-elected to serve as chairman of the Israel-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Association.
In the 18th Knesset, Edelstein was appointed Minister for Information & Diaspora in the 32nd government. In this capacity, Edelstein is responsible for Israel’s links with Diaspora communities, the whole subject of the fight against anti-Semitism, the implementation of projects designed to improve the image of the State of Israel, and more.