MINSK – A photo exhibition memorial honoring late prime minister Ariel Sharon took place Monday in Minsk, the city from where Sharon's parents immigrated to Israel.The Limmud FSU hosted the event at the National History Museum of Belarus as part of its Belarus festival of Jewish learning that took place from September 12-14 in Vitebsk. The conference brought in more than 600 mainly professional Jews between the ages of 20 and 40.
The memorial for Israel’s 11th prime minister was held in collaboration with the government of Belarus, the Israeli Embassy and the local Jewish community, with the participation of Sharon’s son Gilad and close aide Israel Maimon, who served as his cabinet secretary. Marit Danon, the head secretary in prime minister Sharon’s office, curated the exhibition, which included photos from the IDF, government archives and his personal collections. Gilad Sharon was visibly moved by the experience, telling the audience that the tools for the preservation of the Jewish people is Jewish education and immigration to Israel.
“I am very excited to stand here today at the opening of the exhibition on the life of my father,” he said at the opening ceremony. “My father’s life stations integrated in Israel’s history, and I hope this beautiful exhibition will be another step in deepening the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jews, and maybe some of them will go to Israel.”
Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, took great pride in the event, explaining to the audience how the roots of many early Zionist leaders and past and present members of the Israeli government are from Belarus. He mentioned that Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the founder of modern Hebrew; prime minister Golda Meir, Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann; prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni are just a small portion of that illustrious list.
“It is a great honor for Limmud FSU to host this new exhibition, which is on display here in Belarus, about one of the great leaders of the State of Israel who was born to parents who came from this country last century,” said Chesler. “Ariel Sharon never forgot the legacy of his family and put in great effort to learn Russian and his family’s history. This is why we’ve decided to have this event and exhibition during our Limmud FSU Belarus Festival – to show a wonderful example of a great leader whose roots are here, though his life and activities were in Israel.”