Natan Scharansky
Natan ScharanskyJewish Agency

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

I spoke this week with Natan Sharansky, who sat in a Russian prison for nine years because of his opposition to the Soviet regime and his advocacy on behalf of those wishing to emigrate — especially Jews who wanted to make aliya.

Earlier this week, Sharansky spoke with Yaron Or, the father of hostage Avinatan Or. Yaron had said that he thinks these days about his son and about Sharansky, from whom he draws strength. Sharansky subsequently called the father of Avinatan and spoke to him as follows:

“In prison, I derived strength from many sources. First of all, my wife Avital. I felt that she was always with me even though we never met during that time. The nation of Israel also gave me strength. I knew that people were praying for me, that I was benefiting from the powerful prayers of the amazing nation to which I belonged. I had with me a book of Psalms, a book written by King David, and it also gave me strength. I felt that King David had written about me and my acute distress. But after a long stint in prison, I was uplifted when I reached the following understanding: It’s not only that King David gave me strength. I was giving him strength! All previous generations were looking at me. I was continuing their legacy and I could not let them down. I was connected to our glorious past and to our glorious future. I was part of our magnificent story."

This was true regarding a prisoner of Zion in Russia and it is also true regarding the hostages incarcerated today in tunnels in Gaza. We are a small part of a very great story.