Never Alone: Natan Sharansky & Gil Troy in conversation with Miriam Shaviv
Natan Sharansky, Gil Troy
Chair: Miriam Shaviv
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Natan Sharansky, in this classic account of courage, integrity and most of all, belonging, discusses his journey from Soviet political prisoner, through many years spent in harsh solitary confinement, to Israeli politician and head of the Jewish Agency.
Never Alone, co-authored with distinguished historian Gil Troy, is suffused with reflections from his time as a political prisoner, from his seat at the table as history unfolded in Israel and the Middle East, along with his passionate efforts to unite the Jewish people. Natan and Gil discuss, in a conversation moderated by journalist Miriam Shaviv.
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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 1990s, he established the Yisrael B'Aliyah party 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 Honour 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. In July 2019 he became Chair of ISGAP (The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy). Never Alone: Prison, Politics and My People is his fourth book.
A Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University currently living in Jerusalem, Gil Troy is an award-winning American presidential historian and a leading Zionist activist. In the Foreword to Troy’s latest book, The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland – Then, Now, Tomorrow, which was a 2019 National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Natan Sharansky writes: “This magnificent work is the perfect follow-up to Arthur Hertzberg’s classic The Zionist Idea. Combining, like Hertzberg, a scholar’s eye and an activist’s ear, Gil Troy demonstrates that we now live in a world of Zionist Ideas, with many different ways to help Israel flourish as a democratic Jewish state.”
Recently designated an Algemeiner J-100, one of the top 100 people "positively influencing Jewish life," Troy wrote The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, and eight other books on the American presidency. One leading historian called Age of Clinton “the best book on the man and his times.” Troy edited and updated another classic, the multi-volume History of American Presidential Campaigns, originally edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Fred Israel.
Troy has published essays in the American, Canadian, and Israeli media, including writing essays for the New York Times’ “Campaign Stops” in 2012 and 2016. He writes a monthly column for the Daily Beast, “Secret Lives,” putting current events in historical perspective, and writes a weekly column for the Jerusalem Post.Miriam Shaviv
Miriam Shaviv is a columnist for the Jewish Chronicle, where she was Foreign Editor and Opinion Editor between 2005-2010. She was previously Knesset correspondent and feature writer for The Jerusalem Post, Features Editor at Times Higher Education Magazine and London correspondent for Times of Israel. She is currently Director of Brainstorm Digital, a marketing agency specialising in digital campaigns for aesthetic clinics.