A former prisoner of Zion who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1986, Sharansky entered Israel’s political scene as head of the “Yisrael Be'aliyah” faction, and later went on to become a government minister under the Likud faction in the current government.
Sharansky bid farewell to faction members (Photo: Gil Yochanan)
Sharansky recently announced his resignation and was bid a festive farewell Monday at a Knesset meeting in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised his actions and values over the years. The Likud faction held its own goodbye ceremony for Sharansky earlier.
“I feel profound excitement as someone who got to witness one of the most wonderful phenomena to occur in the world over the last century…this wonderful, one of a kind, unusual phenomena of the renewed coming to life of the Jewish people and their return to their land,” Olmert said at the farewell ceremony.
Speaking of Sharansky, the prime minister continued, “I don’t want to talk about the man in the personal aspect. I want to talk about Natan Sharansky as a symbol, a role model, a representative figure, as a figure that is rare in our world.”
Olmert also paid tribute to Sharansky’s role in the “brave struggle” of the Jewish people driven by nothing more than “immense passion and longing for a people the likes of which history has never seen”.