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Avital Sharansky joins in 'Fight for Jerusalem

Avital Sharansky joins in 'Fight for Jerusalem

By Nadav Shragai - Ha'aretz Correspondent

Avital Sharansky told a group of right-wing hunger strikers yesterday that following a long absence from public life, she intends to resume public activity on behalf of a united Jerusalem.

During the 1970s, Sharansky led a vigorous international campaign to get her husband, Natan, released from a Soviet jail. But once Natan, who now heads the Yisrael b'Aliyah party, arrived in Israel, she retired from the public eye.

Sharansky told the strikers that she believed, and still believes, that her proper role is to care for her family. But when Jewish leaders are threatening to divide Jerusalem and hand Israel's holiest sites over to the Palestinians, she said, she can no longer sit at home.

"This city is our heart," she said. "When Jerusalem was liberated [in 1967], many Jews behind the Iron Curtain were also liberated, from a spiritual standpoint, and that was when the battle for the right to immigrate to Israel began."

Sharansky embarked on her new role 10 days ago, when she delivered the closing speech at a mass rally for Jerusalem.

The organizers of that rally, meanwhile, are now planning another event: a "giant convoy of cars" that will travel from Modi'in to Jerusalem along Route 443. In a poster distributed to advertise the event, the group - a Jewish-Christian organization called One United Jerusalem - noted that this road, which has been hit by several terror attacks recently, is the lifeline to the capital for many communities on both sides of the Green Line, including Modi'in, Givat Ze'ev, Maccabim-Re'ut, Hashmonaim and Kiryat Sefer.

Sharansky Slams PM Over Attack on Wife

By Gil Hoffman - Jerusalem Post

JERUSALEM (January 19 - 2001) - Yisrael Ba'aliya leader Natan Sharansky strongly criticized Prime Minister Ehud Barak last night for publishing an attack on his wife.

The attack was published in an insert in several Russian newspapers and posted on the Barak campaign's Russian Web site.

The Barak campaign accused Avital Sharansky of calling on participants in last week's rally for Jerusalem "to go to war for Jerusalem." The campaign said that Sharansky's views appeared to be more right-wing than her husband's, and that she would soon be on Yisrael Ba'aliya's list for the Knesset.

"My wife described the Jewish people's love for Jerusalem wonderfully in the rally, and I was very proud," Sharansky said. "It is a revelation to me that her words of love for Jerusalem can be interpreted as a call for war. This shows that the will to win can make people use language as [George] Orwell did: peace is war, love is hate."

Sharansky said the attack on his wife came as a surprise, because her speech had been praised by people from all ends of the political spectrum and the Sharanskys had received hundreds of requests for copies of the speech, from individuals and schools.

Sharansky also warned that the attack would jeopardize Barak's efforts to attract the support of the Russian-speaking electorate.

"If [Barak] thinks he can deceive thousands of intelligent people, he doesn't deserve to lead this country," Sharansky said, adding, "Russian immigrants cannot be brainwashed by such primitive means."

Likud leader Ariel Sharon, meanwhile, published a campaign pamphlet in Russian that informs right-leaning immigrants that "operations are being planned to fight Arab gangs."

"We will undermine the enemy's mental state," Sharon wrote in the pamphlet. "From an offensive stance, they will shift to a defensive stance."

A Barak campaign spokeswoman said the Avital Sharansky statement about war comes from a Hebrew press report that quoted her as saying "Jerusalem has fought for us immigrants. Today we will fight for Jerusalem."

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