|Date of birth||5 August 1958|
|Place of birth||Chernivtsi, Soviet Union|
|Year of aliyah||1987|
|Knessets||14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19|
|Party represented in Knesset|
|1996–1999||Minister of Immigrant Absorption|
|2009–2013||Minister of Information & Diaspora|
|2013–||Speaker of the Knesset|
Edelstein was born in Chernivtsi in the Soviet Union (today in Ukraine) to a Jewish family. His parents, Yuri and Anita Edelstein, later converted to Christianity, and his father is today a well-known Russian Orthodox priest and human rights activist in Russia. He formed a connection to Jewish culture through his grandparents, and he began studying Hebrew.
During his second year of university, Edelstein decided to apply for an exit visa and emigrate to Israel. However, an exit visa required an affidavit from relatives abroad, a problem faced by many Soviet Jews. As a result, he made up a story of his grandfather having an illegitimate son in Israel, and found some Israelis who agreed to pose as his relatives. In 1979, he submitted his application for an exit visa. The application was rejected, and Edelstein was expelled from university.
Throughout this period, Edelstein studied Hebrew, first on his own, then with an underground Hebrew teacher named Lev Ulanovsky. After Ulanovsky received an exit visa to Israel in 1979, Edelstein himself became an underground Hebrew teacher. He encountered various forms of harassment from the KGB and local police. In 1984, he and other Hebrew teachers were arrested on trumped-up charges. Edelstein was charged with possession of drugs, and sentenced to three and a half years. He was then sent to Siberian gulags and did hard labor, first in Buryatia and then in Novosibirsk. After sustaining an injury and undergoing surgery, Edelstein was due to be transferred back to Buryatia, but his wife Tanya threatened to go on hunger strike if he was returned there. As a result, he remained in Novosibirsk, and was released in May 1985, after serving one year and eight months of his sentence.
In 1987, he was finally given permission to emigrate to Israel. After arriving in Israel, he did his national service in the Israel Defense Forces, attaining the rank of Corporal. He then started to participate in political life. Initially a member of the National Religious Party and a vice-president of Zionist Forum, he founded the Yisrael BaAliyah party together with fellow Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky. He was elected to the Knesset in 1996, and was appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption in Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud-led government. He was re-elected in 1999, and was appointed Deputy Immigrant Absorption Minister by Ariel Sharon in 2001.
He retained his seat in the 2003 elections, shortly after which Yisrael BaAliyah merged into Likud. Although Edelstein lost his seat in the 2006 elections, in which Likud was reduced to 12 seats (Edelstein was fourteenth on the party's list), he re-entered the Knesset as a replacement for Dan Naveh in February 2007. He retained his seat in the 2009 elections after being placed twelfth on the party's list, and was appointed Minister of Information and Diaspora in the Netanyahu government.
The father of two, Edelstein lives in Neve Daniel.
- Netanyahu sworn in as Israel's prime minister Haaretz, 1 April 2009.
- Yuli Edelstein appointed as new Knesset Speaker The Jerusalem Post, 14 March 2013