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Ariel Sharon Passes, Leaves a Legacy of Fighting For Israeli Peace

Posted on January 13, 2014

Ariel Sharon, Israel’s 11th prime minister, was eulogized on Monday as a fighter and pragmatic politician whose life was intertwined with the land of Israel whose security he defended relentlessly.

“Like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a north star that guided him,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said at a 90-minute memorial on a plaza in front of Israel’s Parliament building. “His north star was the survival of the state of Israel and the Jewish people wherever they resided.”

Though Mr. Sharon’s “actions earned him controversy and even condemnation,” Mr. Biden said, “he seemed never in doubt.” Calling him “a complex man,” Mr. Biden noted that “he also lived in complex times in a very complex neighborhood.”

Mr. Sharon died Saturday at 85 after eight years in a state of minimal consciousness following a stroke that aborted his prime ministership when, some analysts said, he seemed on the brink of historic moves to end Israel’s intractable conflict with the Palestinians. But he was long criticized internationally for his aggressive military endeavors and building of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Nicknamed in life both “the bulldozer” and “the butcher,” he was remembered Monday not only for his bravery and boldness, but for his sense of humor and sensitivity by fellow leaders and also by his former soldiers and secretary.

The modest service was attended by family and old friends, ministers and members of Parliament, its 750 seats not quite filled. A military cantor recited the memorial prayer, and Sarit Hadad, a popular Israeli singer sang a mournful ballad remembering the casualties of war, “We Are Both From the Same Village,” said to be a Sharon favorite.

Shimon Peres, the 90-year-old Israeli president who recalled meeting Mr. Sharon when the younger man was a history student with big ideas about the state’s defense in the early 1950s, called him “the shoulder on whom Israel’s security rested,” saying he “turned things that seemed impossible into levers of possibility.”

“Israel loved him and he loved Israel’s children and soil,” Mr. Peres said of a man who had been, at turns, both rival and ally. “Arik was a man of the land – the fragrance of it appealed to his senses, and its mounds he tilled, sowed and reaped. He defended and protected it as a lion,” he said, referring to Mr. Sharon by his nickname.

He added, “He never halted from his aspiration to envision the day Israel would be at peace.”

Continue Reading on www.nytimes.com

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2 thoughts on “Ariel Sharon Passes, Leaves a Legacy of Fighting For Israeli Peace

  1. Not a fan. The man is partially responsible for war crimes committed in the early 1980s in Lebanon. Hopefully he had enough awareness in his coma to be sorry for what he had wrought.

  2. "Sense of humor"? "Sensitivity"? Well, on to some quotes from this "great" man, lest the propaganda drown out the truth:

    "I want to tell you something very clear, don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it."

    "We are Judeo-Nazis, and why not? If your nice, civilized parents, rather than writing books about their love for humanity had instead come to Israel and killed six million Arabs, what would have happened? Sure, two or three nasty pages would have been written in the history books, and we would have been called all sorts of names, but we would be here today as a people of 25 million! What you don't seem to understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it."

    "I don't know this thing called 'international principles'. I vow that I'll burn every Palestinian child that will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child are more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child's existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him."

    "Tell me, do the evil men of this world have a bad time? They hunt and catch whatever they feel like eating. They don't suffer from indigestion and are not punished by Heaven. I want Israel to join that club. Maybe the world will then at last begin to fear us instead of feeling sorry. Maybe they will start to tremble, to fear our madness instead of admiring our nobility. Let them tremble, let them call us a mad state. Let them understand that we are a savage country, dangerous to our surroundings, not normal, that we might go wild, that we might start World War Three just like that, or that we might one day go crazy and burn all the oil fields in the Middle East. Personally, I don't want to be any better than Harry Truman who snuffed out half a million Japanese with two fine bombs."

    "I encourage my soldiers to rape Arabic girls, since the Palestinian woman is a slave for the Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do."

    emphases added