Originally published on May 13, 2010 via the UCI Youtube channel – UCI (the Unity Coalition for Israel) presents part 4 of a Celebration of Jerusalem Day. UCI CEO and Founder, Esther Levens, recently spoke with Natan Sharansky Soviet refusenik and prisoner of conscience in the Soviet Union for 9 years, human rights advocate, and author of a new book, Defending Identity – Its indispensable role in defending democracy.
In 2004, his book The Case for Democracy – The power of freedom to overcome tyranny and terror – caused quite a stir on Capitol Hill as it was purchased by many elected officials – including then President of the United States, George W. Bush. Phrases from the book made it into some very important speeches by President Bush offering strategy and hope for the United States during a time of war against terrorist ideologies. Natan believes that anyone truly offered political freedom will always choose it over tyranny and terror.
From 2003-2005, he was Israel’s Minister without portfolio, responsible for Jerusalem, social and Jewish diaspora affairs. Previously he served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Minister of Housing and Construction, Interior Minister of Israel , Minister of Industry and Trade. He resigned from the cabinet in April 2005 to protest plans to withdraw Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip. He was re-elected to the Knesset in March 2006 as a member of the Likud Party. On November 20, 2006, he resigned from the Knesset to form the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies. Sharansky is the founder and former chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center. Since 2007, Sharansky has been Chairman of the Board of the Jewish diaspora museum, and since June 2009 has been the chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel.