MAY 19, 2024 JLM 85°F 01:58 PM 06:58 AM EST
His heart in the East: The war in Europe touches Nathan Sharansky in the most personal way

The former minister, a native of Donetsk, talks in the "Maariv" weekend supplement about his struggle as an aliyah activist and his years in the Russian prison, returns to his meetings with Putin and Zalansky and opposes Israel's conduct toward the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia and the Ukrainian refugees. 

As for the integrity of the Bennett-Lapid-Gantz-Abbas coalition, he does not show much optimism.

"Today Ukraine is independent for 30 years, and although it still suffers from a lot of problems, its elections are free, and there is no such phenomenon that one man can be president forever. 

In Ukraine they understood that they were fighting for their right to exist. They knew very well that Putin wanted to return Ukraine to Russia and take away their freedom. He was the first to recognize it, which is why he became such an exciting leader that the masses followed him with fire and water."

What do you expect to happen to the Bennett-Lapid government?

"Such a wide-range of Left, right and Arab parties government can only survive if there is peace and order and there are no crises and wars. Once there are crises, I do not know how the government can advance proper decisions against the will of the majority and still defend its rights. I was not optimistic at first and now I am even less optimistic."

What is the alternative? Netanyahu led four rounds of elections.

"I have never met a leader as big as Netanyahu. Bibi was a huge statesman who always knew how to work outside the box. My wife Avital met him as a young diplomat in Washington as part of the struggle for his release from prison, and Bibi enlisted immediately. 

He connected her to people and governments. "The Congress is more sympathetic and how to link the fate of the prisoners of Zion with the Star Wars. Even when he was a minister in the government, he planned far-reaching changes and faced challenges and objections, and took the first security measures against Iran and Syria when no one thought of them as an existential threat."

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