Sharansky shuns WZO executive

Says he has: "Better things to do with my time" than attend meetings

sharansky 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
sharansky 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Since former minister Natan Sharansky was elected to the World Zionist Organization executive in June amid much fanfare, he has not attended a single meeting, sources on the executive told The Jerusalem Post. Sharansky was elected to a seat vacated by former Jewish Agency chairman Sallai Meridor to allow him to run for the WZO chairmanship against Ze'ev Bielski. But due to the intervention of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he withdrew his candidacy. The executive has met at least four times since Sharansky was elected, including a key meeting Tuesday night that was attended by executive members from abroad who came to Israel for the Jewish Agency board of governors meeting at Jerusalem's Inbal Hotel, a five-minute drive from Sharansky's home and his office. The Israelis on the 24-member executive normally attend every meeting of the body, which meets twice a month except during the summer and holidays. Executive members questioned why Sharansky had maintained his position on the executive if he did not intend to come to meetings. "Sharansky apparently has not given up his political plans and wants to keep his options open," a senior member of the executive said, referring to the possibility that Sharansky could challenge Bielski for the Jewish Agency and WZO chairmanship next year. When asked by officials why he did not attend meetings, Sharansky reportedly said he "had better things to do with my time." Sharansky declined to comment for this report.