Former Israeli Prime Minister to Speak at University of Arkansas in Distinguished Lecture Series
Former Israeli prime minister to speak at University of ArkansasTuesday, October 13, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ehud Olmert, controversial former prime minister of Israel, will present a public lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in Barnhill Arena as part of the University of Arkansas Distinguished Lecture Series.
Olmert will speak on issues including the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Iranian nuclear program and the United States’ role in the Middle East peace process. He will answer prepared questions from students attending the event. The lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.
Olmert will hold a 15-minute news conference for local media prior to his lecture.
The 64-year-old Olmert served as prime minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, following a long career in Israeli politics. He was first elected to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in 1973. He served two terms as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, before returning to the Knesset. During his time in parliament he held three cabinet positions, in which he was responsible for minority affairs, health and industry and trade. He was serving as deputy prime minister in 2006 when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke. Olmert served as acting prime minister until new elections were held, and took office as prime minister in May 2006.
Olmert took office strongly advocating Sharon’s controversial plan to close Israeli settlements in Gaza in hopes this would lead to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Those hopes were not realized. Instead, under his leadership, Israel fought a short, inconclusive war against Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, and sent troops into Gaza to battle Hamas fighters there.
Olmert stepped down as prime minister in the midst of a corruption investigation that dated back to his years as mayor of Jerusalem. Six months after leaving office he was indicted on a variety of charges, all of which he vehemently denies. His trial began last month in Jerusalem and is expected to last as long as four years.
Olmert remains a respected voice for Israeli moderates and brings a unique depth of knowledge and experience to his discussion of the Middle East.
Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
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