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Roman Bronfman

Picture of Roman Bronfman

Date of Birth: 04/22/1954

Age: 62

Place of birth: Chernivtsi

Citizenship: Israel

Roman Bronfman - DEPUTY rebel

These words told the Knesset (Israeli parliament), the leader of the party "Democratic Choice" Roman Bronfman. And they were told about the one share held by him and his supporters in the beginning of April 2002 ... the legislature building.

What happened?

... An employee of the Knesset`s eye grasped a strange picture. A group of young people with backpacks rolls sticking out of the hall rushed. There, where the deputies of the rooms. A few minutes later they appeared at the glass wall separating the room from the parliament meetings guest reception. In the eyes of the ministers and deputies who gathered for an emergency meeting in connection with military operations in the Palestinian territories, directly in front of television cameras giant banners stretched. On them it was written: "The Cabinet of Ariel Sharon is preparing a new Lebanon!"

Meanwhile, an employee called for backup, and the protest was terminated. It turned out that the young people - members of the left student movement "green line". And they entered the Knesset with a pass that straightened for them MP Roman Bronfman. And they fashioned posters in his office of the material that he gave them. Five demonstrators were arrested "to determine", and then released on bail.

- Together we have conceived this action - then said MP Bronfman and said: - The guys organized a demonstration in front of the Knesset, I provided them the opportunity to go inside. It`s just a protest against the fact that the State of Israel is doing in the territories ...

However, the landmark action for him was the demonstration of a "coalition of the world", which took place 16 of February 2002, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The event was organized under the strong impression of the letters, rocked public opinion, in which a number of officers of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) declared their refusal to serve with the territory of the autonomy. From the rostrum of the then opposition leader said Yossi Sarid, the Palestinians played Professor Sari Nusseibeh and writer Salah Jubran representing Israeli Arabs. Roman Bronfman gave a speech on behalf of immigrants, immigrants from the CIS.

He shook the demonstrators (and organizers), supported in a loud voice "refuseniks". He explained, that does not call for abandonment of service in the territories, but admires the courage of "refuseniks".

"Refuseniks` letter was the catalyst that prompted the left, brought them to the streets. A Bronfman said something that everyone wanted to hear. The true word in the right place and at the right moment.

Eyewitnesses testify: Sarid immediately understood the essence of what happened. More than that, he saw a man on the platform, swinging on the title of one of the leaders of the left camp.

- You used the platform to meet the personal ambitions ... - he flew into a rage.

- I speak on their behalf, you - from your! - Retorted Bronfman.

Meanwhile, rebuke Sarid drowned in the roar of applause, handshakes, friendly embrace. Bronfman became the star of the action. In the car, on the way home in Haifa, his cell phone did not stop for a minute. Called privates and officers, "refuseniks", MPs from the Left parties, the functionaries of the party "Labor", academics and students.

You said what they think, but do not dare to utter political "bison" - said to call him. - Honor and praise to you! "

Chairman of the movement "Green line" Avner Inbar, said in an interview:

- In a vacuum, which was formed in the left camp, Bronfman sounded unexpectedly. He said what he had to say the representatives of Meretz, the elders, "Labor." But they remained silent. In my opinion, for the Bronfman go all the left branch of the "Russian" community, and part of the centrists. I will say more: if he continues in the same vein, many Israelis will follow him.

Later, in a conversation with me Bronfman admitted that after that memorable demonstration assailed his conflicting feelings.

- You did not know in advance, what do you say? - I inquired.

- I never had to act. It happened spontaneously.

- And what does your intuition today?

- What have I done the right thing. I went all-in, listening to his heart. This does not happen often ...

* * *

Before meeting with Roman Bronfman, I learned from the Israeli newspaper, that he was born in 1954 in Ukraine. He graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the Chernivtsi State University. He taught Russian language and literature in the Chernivtsi Medical Institute, was the director of the Regional House of Scientists.

He immigrated to Israel in 1980. He graduated from the Faculty of Slavic Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1989 he defended his doctoral dissertation. Taught Sovietology and Slavic studies in Haifa and the Hebrew University. He worked as a journalist and political analyst in the Israeli media in Russian. He was the chief editor of the newspaper "Vremya".

From 1991 to 1995 - in the party "Labor." One of the authors of the party`s program in the field of immigrant absorption. In early 1996, he came out of the party by publicly announcing its opposition to its policy towards immigrants.

In 1993 he was elected to the Haifa City Council. He became one of the first immigrants from the Soviet Union, included in the board of the municipalities of big cities of Israel. Created absorption Management Haifa, recognize the best absorption model at the municipal level. He has been Vice-President and President of the Zionist Forum.

Bronfman - one of the founders of the party "Israel ba-Aliyah".

In 1996 he was elected to the Knesset of the 14th convocation of the party, was the chairman of its faction in parliament. In 1999 he was re-elected. Then came out of "Israel ba-Aliyah", disagreed with its policy on relations between the state and religion. In the same year he created the party "Democratic Choice".

He - a member of the parliamentary commission on legislation and on the economy of the Knesset of the 15th convocation. It is not the first cadenza leads the parliamentary group "Israel - Ukraine", is co-chairman of the parliamentary group "Israel - Azerbaijan".

He lives in Haifa. Married. He has two sons.

* * *

It would seem, comprehensive information. But I wanted not only to learn, but also to understand the man. Professional politicians, MP-rebel, the father of the family. We spent with them more than one night. Said argued, exchanged views. Frankly, I still have a lot of questions that I would like to get answers. I think it will get. Because Roman Bronfman, unlike many Israeli politicians, accessible person, although very busy. But most importantly - an interesting conversationalist, does not shy away from answering awkward questions.

So, in the beginning of his career in politics, he chose the party of "Labor". In 1992 he headed the department for the promotion of new immigrants. It was in that year when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was elected.

- Why did you decide to get out of the "Labor Party" and together with Natan Sharansky sectoral organized a party for the new immigrants, "Israel ba-Aliyah"? - I asked at one meeting.

- Since 1990 to 1996, all of the traditional Israeli party only spoke in favor of the new immigrants, but practically not engaged in their problems - Bronfman said. - Caring for them in the "Avoda" departed not even for a second, but, rather, on the third plan.

- So, you are somewhat disappointed in this game?

- I recall that in 1992, "Labor" has received from new immigrants four mandates. And in 1996 already showed the first problem. Unfortunately, support of Rabin we have not received. It was then that we have matured and understanding that new immigrants have to their representation in the Knesset. I think that had a historical pattern in the emergence of such a party.

- And what was the reason for your break with "Isral ba-Aliyah" and creating a "democratic elections"?

Bronfman was silent, clearly recalling the events of those years. Maybe again he reinterprets them.

- In the pre-election campaign in 1999 for the first time heard the notes, which are still to be heard from the lips of Natan Sharansky and his supporters - said my interlocutor. - When we started the campaign, "the Interior Ministry - under our control," he spent a lot of meetings in which made it clear that the interests of our community are secondary for him. At his request, we turned the campaign started. It was the first crack. By the way, Sharansky said at the time: "It is not new immigrants led me to the Knesset, and I brought them back." Then came the ideological confrontation. Then we decided to Alexander Tsinker create left-centrist party "Democratic Choice", which gives priority to the issues of civil liberties, the separation of religion from the state, and later - the separation of Israel from the Palestinians.

Bronfman was silent for a while, as if thinking about what was said. And I suddenly remembered that he left the "Irael ba-Aliyah" immediately after the very successful for itself in 1999 parliamentary campaign. Before it opened up attractive prospects. As number three in the party list, he could become a vice-speaker of the Knesset. And the head of one of the most influential parliamentary committees. And, quite possibly, even a deputy minister. But he chose a different path ...

Meanwhile, Bronfman continued:

- I come from the center. Never right. Gradually, however, he leaned to the left. This process is matured in me. Perhaps this is due to my biography. After all, I grew up on the west border of the USSR, in Chernivtsi, a city of western European in every sense. Every third person was a Jew. They did not know of anti-Semitism. Obviously, I am less affected by the totalitarian regime.

During the conversation, I felt that Bronfman as a politician and a person is experiencing some discomfort in the company`s new partners. And the Israeli left irritate him.

- It annoys me their indifference to the public, their isolation from it, - he explained. - Madden fed the left, with their ceremonies, who forgot about the need to fight for their positions and lost them.

- How do you propose to operate the left?

- Rally, not delaminate. Going down with his ghostly towers expand the ranks, gain scale and involve them immigrants, representatives of the democratic Eastern Jewry, put an end to this stupid practice organizations and podorganizatsy. Develop, grow.

In the recent elections to the Knesset of the 16th convocation, "Democratic Choice" went hand in hand with a block Meretz, headed by Yossi Sarid. The leader of the "Democratic Choice" has repeatedly stated that the ideological views, he is close to Meretz. During the six months before the election, Bronfman and Sarid is very actively working on the organization of social-democratic bloc. And he and the other great supporters of this idea.

- I believe that the time has come for Israel to reorganize the political map, - told me Bronfman. - It can not be changed when you are in a coalition. But in opposition - can be. And Meretz, and the left part of the "Labor" and "Democratic Choice" - it`s just the three organizations that are beginning to creation of social-democratic bloc. By signing an agreement with Sarid, "Democratic Choice" constructed, in general, the prototype-base to create the future of the Social Democratic Party.

According to my companion, a modern social democracy long gone from its socialist roots. `Social` in its name today is not socialist economy, and social justice and security. The combination of a market economy with a strong social protection system allows people to fully develop their potential, promotes understanding and tolerance in society, economic growth, scientific-technical and cultural progress.

- In the new Knesset, you`ve got six mandates. Are you satisfied with the election results?

- In general, not much ... because the progressive camp, to which I belong, has failed. Its representation in parliament was reduced to ten seats. We will have to pretty serious struggle of the opposition against the way in which the previous government passed the last two years.

To some it may seem that the Bronfman from time to time changes its political platform. This is not true! He had never been changed, nor a centimeter. He only changed the functional presence in batches. He has always been a liberal, center-left. His platform is not moved in any direction. As for the parties, then, in his opinion, to change them completely shameful. After all, his goal - the liberalization of the Jewish state, the reforms in the political system and the achievement of peace in the Middle East.

* * *

At one meeting, which took place in his hometown Bronfman - Haifa, we have decided not to talk about politics. And, by the way, this word kept each other.

He told me that this year my wife and I noted a silver wedding. She - a civil engineer. It has its small design bureau. The eldest son is about to turn 24. The youngest - 17.

- However much time I spend away from home, goes to social activities - lamented Bronfman. - It affects children, especially the youngest son, since I have for them - "Correspondence" father. My wife supports me, but very worried when he hears the criticism addressed to me. Free time I have. Newspapers I only view. Books read diagonally. Television - look, "flipping" TV remote control. Twice a week, I try to do sports to keep themselves in good shape.

- I heard that your hobby - collecting antiques.

- This is due to family traditions. Before the 1917 revolution in Kiev, my grandfather began gathering this collection. Numismatics, antique Russian silver and jewels. However, 90 percent of the rarities were sold during the war in the evacuation. But something kept. Part of it is we have brought to Israel.

The Bronfman Collection - everyday objects and utensils from Central Europe. For example, set to supply British started the production of champagne of the 18th century. An interesting set of candlesticks Vienna production of the mid-19th century, an extraordinary collection of Austrian liqueur. Wormed his way into some silver from the East, which he bought already here. There are stunning Indian tea.

True, it can hardly be called a collector. In recent years, there is neither the capacity nor the time to engage in collecting. Therefore, the collection he addresses rarely.

- Special pride - two ancestral "Faberge", - said Bronfman. - One is kept by my sister, another kept me. Six years ago it was stolen. Someone brought the thieves in our house. Moreover, only took jewelry and money was not touched.

- What experiences collector deprived collection?

- He feels the double horror. The economic and emotional. After four generations of things kept in the family.

- Well, what is your wife?

- Instead of jewels? Of course, I did not leave her completely unadorned. But they are no longer old and modern. By the way, I think that one of the reasons that we have got to the thieves - the woman without fear of wearing unique jewelry. Unlike my sister, who keeps them in a safe in one of the major banks.

In addition to collecting, Bronfman loves to travel. Because architecture loves prefers to travel the city. Although once he confessed that if it were possible to distract from the need to maintain family life, of children who go to school, where they need to bring and pick up can be moved to the countryside. He`s near the house there is a small plot of land, and every Saturday he handles it with great care.

- To be picked in the ground, fertilize, water, - with a satisfied smile he told me Bronfman. - We grow mostly evergreens. Mess around with them, talk, cuddle, calm - spend a full psychological cycle. Plants, by the way, meet me in return. Even miss me. If I leave a fortnight some flower dies. Returns - flowers come to life. One of the favorite methods of family entertainment - when the whole family are going to choose the next greenhouse seedlings.

Although Bronfman inclined to the countryside, a craving for the architecture makes the vast majority of his trips abroad carried out in the big cities. London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Rome it is very well known.

- A Jerusalem? - I inquired.

- Of course. It is well know for its architecture, versed in styles can determine fairly accurately the construction of a building.

Of all the cities in the most unique city in the world considers Prague. According to Bronfman, unlike any other European city, it is perceived as something whole. It is harmonious. You stand on Castle Hill and at the foot you can see the entire old town. Prague you can reach, behold as a single complex. What is curious: the first time he visited Prague in the year he was elected to the Knesset, and therefore was in high spirits. In his opinion, it is very important what state you come to like yourself feel what eyes look at the city, at last, with whom you come ...

Talking about Prague, Bronfman told me that she - a complete contrast to Israel, which does not have aesthetics. There are, of course, the magnificent "islands", but in general, when he looks at the total eclecticism, has not yet held style, it gives him a big disappointment. The country has been built, mainly in the 20-30-ies at the level of the international style, which brought German architects, then began blending of orientalism with modern architecture, has failed, in his view, attempts to flirt with the East. My companion admitted that he was disappointed by the fact that, in general, the aesthetic education of the Israelites too lame.

By the way, the Israeli newspaper "Maariv" wrote that "the Roman Bronfman - one of the few Knesset members, dressed to the nines." She released him curious epigram.

Face pride rosy

We: the Israeli media - bye!

Almost Roman Bronfman

For the style of haute couture.

He reservations stranger to the phrase,

Wild in the parliamentary battle,

Soldier cap decorates

Gray his head.

Let the road to Olympus

Our deputy neugasim,

Do not shake tie strict

No change of power nor Khamsin.

Shoes surface is not stained

January rainy-storm.

Its not sharing views,

I share his taste.

When I reported this to Bronfman, he just smiled.

- Upon arrival in Israel, - he said - I got great pleasure from the freedom of dress: the lack of ties, suits and other necessary attributes of the Soviet style. With the election to the Knesset, I suddenly came back to himself to mandatory uniforms. I must admit that I really pay attention to their appearance. In the days of presence in parliament I try to dress "protocol", and in the days of free lessons, when we take the time to meetings with public delegations, media, voters and so on, to dress more "available". He switched to the jacket, took off his tie - and feel great.

Our conversation is often interrupted by phone calls. Later Branfman told me that ever since he became a deputy, mobile phone number has not changed. By the way, it is a lot of walking on foot, appointments in the most crowded places, not hidden from the public. Anyone can come, praise or, on the contrary ... He was convinced that a poor leader who communicates with people through intermediaries. It happens that, having come to a concert or a restaurant to his people sit down and begin to endless discussions on political topics.

- It is very annoying - recognized Bronfman. - You stop being yourself and become a national treasure. A national treasure everyone is free to do as it sees fit. In normal life in Europe or the US indecent to talk about politics. They talk about vacation, children, women, races, collecting, weather.

When dealing with a politician, I could not help but ask:

- What should be a real politician?

Bronfman replied immediately:

- Magnanimous, generous, followed behind him, versed in many areas of life, intelligent. He has to be careful and patient. And remember that allowed the common man is not allowed policy.

* * *

February 17 deputies took the oath of the new Knesset. I called Roman Bronfman, congratulated and wished him luck. He asked:

- How do you see the future of Israel?

He was silent, then she said with a noticeable sadness:

- The immediate future I see it as a very serious crisis. The political and economic. But I believe in the path through suffering to joy. If reason will prevail over emotion, we can get back to the period of prosperity ...