Former Israeli prime minister to speak here for Jewish Awareness Month
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — ACCENT Speakers Bureau and Jewish Awareness Month at the University of Florida will bring Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister of Israel, to speak April 9 at the Phillips Center for Performing Arts.
Olmert served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009 and is an active politician and lawyer in Israel.
After graduating from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Olmert opened a successful law firm. He entered politics in the 1970s when he was elected to Israel’s unicameral national legislature and was re-elected seven consecutive times. His positions included minister without portfolio and minister of health. In November 1993, Olmert ran for mayor of Jerusalem and won. He served two terms, tackling issues like education reform and improving infrastructure; he developed the city’s light rail transit system. In 2003, Olmert was appointed minister of industry and trade and deputy prime minister. As an influential member of the cabinet, Olmert advocated a withdrawal from Gaza, a plan which was ultimately carried out in August 2005. Olmert was elected prime minister in 2006 after serving as temporary prime minister.
As prime minister, Olmert declared to define the borders of Israel. Although reluctant to engage militarily with Hezbollah, he authorized the 2006 Lebanon War, which continued until the U.N. arranged a cease-fire. Olmert attended the 2007 Annapolis Peace Conference between the U.S., Palestine and Israel.
Olmert will be interviewed at UF by MSNBC foreign policy contributor and human rights advocate Rula Jebreal. She is a lifelong advocate of women’s rights and civil liberties in the Middle East. After her mother’s suicide at age 5 she was raised by a Palestinian woman whom she credits as her surrogate mother and mentor.
The program starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is free and open to the public. Student ticket pickup will begin at noon on April 8th at the Phillips Center box office, students will be allowed up to two tickets each with a valid UF ID. Limit one ID per student. Any remaining tickets will be made available to the general public at 5 p.m. the day of the show at the Phillips Center Box Office. Photography is not allowed during the program, but press may record and photograph during the first five minutes of remarks.
A sign language interpreter will be present at the show.