Zeev Elkin, Israel's minister of Jerusalem affairs and immigrant absorption, began his political career in late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s party before deserting Kadima for the Likud in 2008. He is currently a member of the diplomatic-security Cabinet and one of the most incisive thinkers of the Likud and the entire Israeli political system. Elkin is a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and viewed as one of Netanyahu’s most faithful and effective political operators, though tension has recently been detected between the two. Elkin also enjoys good contacts with Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman, the Israeli right's most uncompromising opposition to the current government.
Elkin was born in Ukraine, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Kharkiv University and then immigrated to Israel in 1990. He earned a master’s degree in Jewish history from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As a skilled Israeli politician, Elkin is affiliated with the ideological right, but he is also equipped with an open mind. Elkin holds diverse and sometimes surprising views, but unlike many others he does not hesitate to express his opinions. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Elkin prophesized, “It will not be long until the Palestinian Authority is no longer.”