'I'm not a man who gets excited, but this is exciting'

Israel Prize winner Natan Sharansky recalls the conversation with Minister Bennett in which he was informed he won the prize.

Ben Ariel ,

Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Flash 90

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky recalled on Sunday the telephone call he received from Education Minister Naftali Bennett, in which Bennett informed him he had won the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

"It's very exciting. I'm not a man who gets excited about ceremonies and prizes, but there's something very special about receiving a prize on Israel’s 70th anniversary," Sharansky told Israel Hayom.

"When Minister Naftali Bennett called, I did not hurry to pick up the phone, I thought he was calling about all kinds of issues at the Jewish Agency and the Diaspora Ministry, so first of all I asked for an update from the professional bodies about the projects we have together," he recalled.

"I received an update, I called Naftali Bennett back, and instead of talking about projects, he tells me about the prize and speaks all kinds of beautiful words, and I feel that I am starting to lose my voice. I told him that I view this also as a prize for my wife Avital. Naftali Bennett said that the prize was meant for me but my wife joined in on the conversation. We reminisced also about the struggles that she led. She mentioned how Rabbi Kook and his students supported her. We would not have been able to survive our wars for even one day if the entire Jewish people gad not supported us," said Sharansky.

He spoke of the warm reactions he has received from the moment he was notified of the win.

"I received a phone call from the President and from Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. My daughters read about the prize in the media. They called immediately and were very excited. The fact that David Levy, who represents Aliyah from Morocco, is also receiving the Israel Prize has a lot of significance. The State of Israel is the ingathering of the exiles.”