Middle East

Israel's Prophet of Freedom Gives In to Middle East Reality

Like George W. Bush, Natan Sharansky once favored nation-building. Now he'll settle for survival.

Inspiration of the "freedom agenda."

Photographer: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

An irony about Natan Sharansky, the legendary Soviet refusenik turned Israeli politician, is that his treatise on "free" and "fear" societies had more influence on American conservatives than those in his adopted homeland. President George W. Bush has said the 2004 book Sharansky co-authored, "The Case for Democracy," inspired his second inaugural address. Yet in Israel, the former dissident's ideas are politely ignored.

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