Jewish 100, 2014: Natan Sharansky – Community
Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Natan Sharansky, first widely known around the globe in the 1970s as a founder of the Refusenik movement and as a Soviet prisoner of conscience, has reached great heights in both Israel and the rest of the Jewish world. He currently serves as chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, overseeing Jewish immigration to Israel from such trouble spots as Ukraine and France. After he came to Israel, he was disappointed with the absorption of the large influx of Soviet Jews, wrote frequently on the subject, and in 1995 created a new political party, Yisrael b’Aliyah, dedicated to helping immigrants’ professional, economic and social acculturation. His party won several Knesset seats and he served as interior minister. He subsequently had a role in three other Israeli governments, holding top posts that include deputy prime minister.