Natan Sharansky was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was a spokesman for the human rights movement, a Prisoner of Zion and leader in the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Subsequent to his request to make aliya, Mr. Sharansky was arrested on trumped up charges of treason and espionage. He was convicted in a Soviet court and served nine years in the Gulag with many stretches in a punishing cell. Following massive public campaigns by the State of Israel, World Jewry and leaders of the free world, Mr. Sharansky was released in 1986, making aliya on the very day of his release.
In his first few years in Israel, Mr. Sharansky established the Zionist Forum to assist Soviet olim in their absorption in Israel. In the 1990’s, he established the Yisrael B’Aliyah party in order to accelerate the integration of Russian Jews. He served in four successive Israeli governments, as Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
In 2018 he received the highest Israeli award – the Israel Prize for promoting Aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles.
Mr. Sharansky is the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. He is the only living non-American citizen who is the recipient of these two highest American awards.
2009-2018 Natan Sharansky served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. After retirement from the Jewish Agency, he continues to serve as Chairman of the Shlihut Institute, which he founded.
In July 2019 Mr. Natan Sharansky became Chair of ISGAP (The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy).
In 2021 Sharansky became Chair of Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Advisory Board.
Mr. Sharansky is also the author of four books: Fear No Evil; The Case for Democracy; Defending Identity; and Never Alone: Prison, Politics and My People.
The Summit offers a unique opportunity to confront the corrosive influence of bigotry and hatred in our society. In order for us to address these challenges, we first must acknowledge their painful and destructive impact in our communities and in our country. I am grateful to serve as a Global Advisor to this timely and powerful initiative.