Remembering Edgar

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky reflects on Edgar Bronfman's influence on the Jewish World.

Edgar M. Bronfman (photo credit: Courtesy)
Edgar M. Bronfman
(photo credit: Courtesy)
One of the things that gave me the most strength during my time in prison was the confidence that the Jews around the world had not forgotten about me. But it was only after my release that I realized the scale of the international struggle that had taken place both in Israel and in the Diaspora.
There were indeed thousands of individuals, grass-roots organizations, religious and social institutions, working, agitating and demonstrating for the release of the Jewish prisoners of Zion and for the free emigration of all Jews denied exit visas by the Soviet government.
Some were involved in public pressure and others in secret diplomacy.
The unique role of Edgar Bronfman was that he headed the organization that was most advanced in secret diplomacy and at the same time he wholeheartedly supported the World Union of Jewish Students, whose member were organizing public protests and demonstrations against the Soviet authorities.
He deeply believed that the Jewish people had to abide by the maxim Kol Israel arevim zebezeh, (“All Jews are responsible for each other”) and he was always prepared to fly to the ends of the earth to help a Jewish community in trouble or even one Jew in distress.
The involvement and forceful character of Edgar was a blessing. He will be deeply missed and I personally will remember him with fondness and gratitude.