The Hero of Jewish Resistance to Soviet Tyranny Speaks to His Successors

During his nine years in prison for the crime of wanting to emigrate to Israel, Natan Sharansky achieved the dubious distinction of setting a probable record—405 days—for time spent in solitary confinement. Like most recordholders, he is not happy about the high likelihood that his will be surpassed by the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who has already spent 200 days of his two-and-a-half years of imprisonment in what is known as a punishment cell. Jay Nordlinger speaks to Sharansky about his own experiences, and his perspective on those who now find themselves at the mercy of Vladimir Putin:

Vladimir Kara-Murza, another Russian oppositionist, has been sentenced to 25 years for “high treason.” This was after he criticized the war on Ukraine. You have to go back to Stalin, says Sharansky, to find 25-year sentences. . . . In other respects, the situation is less bad today than before, says Sharansky. Putin has not yet closed emigration. You can still leave the country if you want, and have the means to do so. “In the days of our struggle,” Sharansky recounts, “the country was really a prison for everybody.”

In the past month, Sharansky has received letters from both Kara-Murza and Navalny. They have read his memoir and other such books, and drawn inspiration from them.

Before they were imprisoned, both Kara-Murza and Navalny were abroad, for medical treatment and other reasons. Both of them went back to Russia, knowing they would be arrested, imprisoned, and possibly killed. Sharansky understands them very well. Dissidents in the Soviet Union were always taking actions that they knew would lead to terrible fates. They did it because someone had to show courage. Someone had to stand up to the tyranny—to disturb it a little, or a lot.

If a dictatorship is to fall, says Sharansky, it is imperative that people on the outside—people who are free—stand in solidarity with people who are risking their lives inside. Free World governments must not allow the dictatorship, the persecutors, to conduct international business as usual.

Read more at National Review

More about: Natan Sharansky, Russia, Soviet Jewry, Vladimir Putin


Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security