KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) – The Jewish Agency will resume its work in Odessa, Natan Sharansky announced.
Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, made the announcement Thursday during a visit to Odessa City Mayor Eduard Gurvits.
During a private visit to Odessa, Sharansky met with Gurvits and local Jewish leaders.
Sharansky visited Dnepropetrovsk and Kiev on Sept. 29-30, marking an expansion of the organization’s activities in Ukraine aimed strengthening Jewish identity, particularly among teenagers and young people.
In Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk, the chairman met with local Jewish leaders.
Sharansky was an honored guest at a ceremony dedicating the new Matzeva Memorial to Holocaust victims in Dnepropetrovsk, where he said that his wife’s family was murdered by the Nazis.
Sharansky was born in 1948 in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk. After years of persecution under the Soviet regime, he immigrated in 1986 to Israel. Ten years after arriving in Israel, Sharansky founded the immigrant political party Israel B’aliya. From 1996 to 2005 Sharansky served as a government minister, as well as deputy prime minister in all successive governments. In 2006 he resigned from the Knesset and assumed the position of chairman of the newly established Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.
The Board of Governers of the Jewish Agency voted on June 25, 2009, to elect Sharansky as its chairman of the executive board.