Leonid Nevzlin, a Russian-born businessman and philanthropist, tweeted on the eve of Rosh Hashanah about the need for a new liberal coalition to protect Israeli democracy.
Nevzlin made his fortune in the Russian oil and gas industry as an executive of the Yukos Petroleum Company.
A long-time Putin critic, Nevzlin gave up his Russian citizenship within a month of the war in Ukraine starting and had been critical of the Putin government since the early 2000s, when Putin began opening criminal cases against members of his company.
We are in the midst of an attack on the very foundations of the State of Israel, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, and on the eternal cultural values that Judaism brought to the world - human dignity and freedom.An anti-liberal coalition of religious…— Leonid Nevzlin (@Nevzlin) September 15, 2023
Since arriving in Israel in 2003 he has become a media mogul buying a 20% share in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 2011 and launching The Liberal magazine in 2014.
Nevzlin’s connection to Israeli politics doesn’t end with his media purchases. His son-in-law is Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, the former health minister during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic. Edelstein and Irina Nevzlin married in 2016, she is chair of the board of directors of The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot.
Was this a message for Edelstein?
Edelstein has been touted as a possible Likud dissenter against the judicial reform with commentators expecting him to lead any internal resistance to the judicial reform.
Edelstein’s history as a political prisoner and refusnik in the Soviet Union has made him a hopeful target of the anti-judicial reform camp.