Uri Biv, 31, a son of immigrants from Ethiopia and a member of the Nazareth Illit city council, will leave next week on a campaign to encourage immigration to Israel (and to Nazareth Illit in particular). Biv’s destination is Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
Biv was born in Kfar Saba to parents who immigrated to Israel during Operation Moses. When he was four, the family moved to Nazareth Illit. He studied political science at Emek Yezreel College and married Gili Segal three and a half years ago. He was first elected to the city council three years ago.
Biv is to attend a conference in Kiev attended by hundreds of Jews from all over Ukraine. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is a partner in financing the trip. “When the mayor suggested that I go on a delegation to encourage immigration to Israel, it was unexpected because I was a member of the opposition. He put politics aside and made a decision for the good of the city,” he said.
Biv is not concerned about the language problem. “I speak fluent English, and a translator will join me to help me with the immigrants,” he explained. “As a young man of Ethiopian origin, integration into Israel was not easy. I reached where I am, and I’m an example of successful absorption in Israel.
“As the son of immigrants, this is the most important Zionist mission I could have. I’ll do everything I can to convince the Ukrainian immigrants to come to Nazareth Illit.”
A few days before the flight to Kiev, Biv met with new immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were studying at the absorption center in the city and received a few tips from them. Alexander Smolensky, 23, who immigrated to Israel from Ukraine three months ago, said, “I never encountered an emissary of Ethiopian origin. It could be very successful.”
Ronen Plot, the mayor of Nazareth Illit, said, “I chose Uri Biv to go on the mission and to encourage immigrants from Ukraine to come to Nazareth Illit because he is a successful example of absorption.”
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)