Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed great sorrow at the death of
former Yisrael B'Aliya, Likud and Kadima MK Marina Solodkin Sunday.
was found dead Saturday night in her hotel room in Riga, Latvia, where
had given a speech at an anti-fascism conference. The cause of death is
"Marina Solodkin was a public representative with
values who always listened to the problems of citizens of Israel,"
Netanyahu said. "In her modest and honest way, she was concerned for the
welfare of citizens and always took care of problems of new
The prime minister paid tribute to Solodkin's caring personality and hard work, saying that he liked and valued her very much.
Jewish Agency chairman and Yisrael B'Aliya founder Natan Sharansky expressed shock at Solodkin's sudden passing.
immigrants from the Former Soviet Union there was no advocate or
defender more enthusiastic or uncompromising than Marina," Sharansky
stated. "No problem was too small for her; she was willing to help at
any hour of the day to solve employment issues, return children to
single mothers, help find housing and sometimes just to sit together, to
listen, to comfort, to give good advice."
For Marina, Sharansky added, helping others was her life mission.
"When she couldn't help anymore, she couldn't live," he said.
Solodkin was born in Moscow in 1952, and had a doctorate in economic and social science. She made aliya in 1991.
a Yisrael B'Aliya MK, Solodkin was chairwoman of the Knesset Committee
for the Advancement of the Status of Women, and served twice as Deputy
Immigration and Absorption Minister. She left politics last December,
because she was put in an unrealistic spot on Kadima's list after
serving two terms as an MK for the party.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman expressed his condolences at the passing of Solodkin on Sunday, stating that "she served as an example of the integration of the aliya from the former Soviet countries into Israeli society."
Liberman added that Solodkin "experienced first hand the difficulties that new immigrants go through, and therefore over the following years she was the natural representative for the olim and she knew how to represent them from a societal and a humane standpoint."
Kadima leader Shaul
Mofaz wrote on his Facebook profile Saturday night that Solodkin was a
woman who "dedicated her life to helping others, for equality in
opportunity and social justice."
"Marina loved the State of
Israel and did all she could to turn our wonderful land into a better
place, a fairer and more just place. May her memory be blessed," he
Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni, a former Kadima leader, called Marina a "special character" in politics.
recounted how, when former prime minister Ariel Sharon appointed her to
be Immigration and Absorption Minister, he told her to seek advice from
Solodkin, calling her "a very smart woman."
"I found a smart
woman with a huge heart," Livni wrote. "She would listen and solve any
problem on a personal level. She fought for the [FSU immigrant] public.
She never thought about what was politically correct or not – she just
said what she thought."
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich described
her friendship with Solodkin, saying she sought her advice on political
and economic matters.
"Her advice was decisive and accurate. She
had a calculator in her head that knew how to work out all the
parameters of a good decision: Moral, political, pragmatic," Yacimovich
The two worked together on a law that requires employers
to allow workers to sit, and fought to save the government's
welfare-to-work program, known as the "Wisconsin Plan."
hated corrupt and manipulative politicians. The Israeli public did not
really know her, but the Russian-speakers valued her. She personally
helped thousands of people," Yacimovich added. "Israel has lost a
wonderful parliamentarian whose door was open to anyone in trouble."
The Labor leader said she had plans to meet with Solodkin this week, and was saddened by her sudden death.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.