Sharansky wins second term as head of Jewish Agency


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Natan Sharansky was elected to a second term as chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Sharansky won four more years in the vote Tuesday by the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, which is meeting in Jerusalem.

A day earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called on the board to reappoint Sharansky, calling him a "symbol of Jewish unity and a symbol of the triumph of the Jewish people over adversity."

Sharansky was a Soviet dissident who was incarcerated for nine years. After his release in 1986, he immigrated to Israel, where he was reunited with his wife, Avital. He served as a member of the Knesset for nine years and as a minister in several government departments, as well as deputy prime minister.

As head of the Jewish Agency, Sharansky has worked to strengthen relations between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

In December, Netanyahu asked Sharansky to study the situation at the Western Wall and offer recommendations to the government on how to make the site more accommodating to all Jews.

Sharansky said Tuesday during a session at the Board of Governors meeting that he will not present recommendations on women’s prayer at the Wall until a new government coalition is in place, Haaretz reported.

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