Decision Points

Cold War Geopolitics and Freedom for Soviet, Ethiopian, and Syrian Jews

Dec. 18, 2019

This episode focuses on the immigration of Soviet, Ethiopian, and Syrian Jewry to Israel, the impact of which has been massive. Over a million Jews moved to Israel at the end of the Cold War alone, greatly increasing its small population and bringing professional backgrounds that helped trigger a high-tech boom. The United States played a key role in all three of these immigration waves, using economic, diplomatic, and military means to support them.

Host David Makovsky discusses this transformative cooperation with Natan Sharansky and Malcolm Hoenlein. Sharansky embodied the Soviet Jewry movement in the 1970s and 1980s, uttering the iconic words “Next year in Jerusalem” that captured hearts around the world and landed him on the cover of Time magazine. He recently completed a nine-year term as chair of the Jewish Agency, the Israeli organization that links Jewish communities around the world. Hoenlein has been a dominant figure in American Jewish groups for decades, most recently completing thirty-two years as executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He has also been a key figure in winning U.S. government support for persecuted Jewish communities.

Audio Clips Used

Freedom Sunday

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