Avraham Burg was born in Jerusalem in 1955 to one of the most prominent families in Israel. His father, Dr. Josef Burg, was a Holocaust survivor who escaped from Germany to Palestine in September 1939 and went on to lead the National Religious Party and serve as a minister in the Israeli government from 1948 to 1988. His mother Rivka was a seventh-generation resident of Hebron and the daughter of the local community rabbi. Avraham Burg first took on a public role during the first Lebanon war in 1982, when he was a leader of the antiwar protests. He went on to serve as adviser to Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a member of the Israeli Knesset, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization, and the speaker of the Knesset, among other public positions. Since his voluntary retirement from public life in 2004, Burg has become an outspoken leader of the Israeli left wing. He is the author of numerous books, including (in English) The Holocaust Is Over and Very Near to You. He lives in Nataf, just outside Jerusalem.