Ben Gurion: . . . if he were caught between the rise of al-Qaeda and Iran and the decline of the United States?

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What Would Ben-Gurion Do

What Would Ben-Gurion Do

David Ben-Gurion with IDF Commander Yossef Nevo and Mayor of Jerusalem Mordechai Ish-Shalom at an army post at the Jerusalem border, 1962. By David Harris.

Ofir Haivry in “Israel in the Eye of the Hurricane” calls for reviving David Ben-Gurion’s activist school of foreign policy. In building his case for the rightness of such a policy, Haivry provides us not only with an insightful survey of the historical development of Israeli strategy but also with a framework for comparing policies across time periods. His approach is particularly helpful in pointing out the complex interconnections among local, regional, and global politics.

But in taking the view from 30,000 feet, Haivry misses the specific dilemma that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now faces: Israel is caught uncomfortably between the decline of American power and the rise of al-Qaeda and Iran.

As Haivry observes, America is pulling back. In the words of former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, the Obama administration has determined that the United States is “overinvested” in the Middle East. President Obama, therefore, has shown himself to be deeply reluctant to commit the U.S. to any initiative designed to shape a new regional order. This standoffishness has resulted in a power vacuum. The vacuum is most obvious in Syria, where Shiite Iran and Sunni al-Qaeda are both growing increasingly powerful even as they vie with each other for influence.

For Israel, the dilemma arises not so much from America’s withdrawal as from the decidedly partial character of that withdrawal. Although Obama has taken one step out the door, the other foot is still planted firmly in place. At the United Nations General Assembly in September, for example, he targeted two problems for energetic solution: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program. He could not have chosen two issues of greater concern to Israel. While other Middle Eastern leaders complain of an aloof and distant America, the Israeli prime minister finds himself hosting Secretary of State John Kerry nearly once a month. In short, Obama has boxed Netanyahu in.

 

As historical coincidence would have it, however, Ben-Gurion had to grapple with an analogous dilemma, and in doing so his activist school reached the zenith of its influence. In the mid-1950s, as radical pan-Arabism shook the region, the Eisenhower administration, which leaned toward the side of the Arab states, was singularly fixated on solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. The best way to achieve that goal, the President believed, was to force Israel to make painful territorial concessions.

And there was more. In 1955, Gamal Abd al-Nasser, the charismatic young leader of Egypt and champion of pan-Arabism, had signed a massive arms deal with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower chose to interpret Nasser’s move as a hedge against Israel rather than a rejection of the West per se. Rolling back Israel could therefore also serve as a means of wooing Nasser away from the USSR.

Not surprisingly, a significant gap in perception opened up between Jerusalem and Washington. The Americans fawned over Nasser; the Israelis increasingly saw him as an existential threat. As a result, Ben-Gurion was forced to adopt a bifurcated strategy. Wherever possible, he showed deference to the United States—making sure, for example, to cooperate with Eisenhower’s Arab-Israeli peace initiative. At the same time, in a practice that enraged the Americans, he did not refrain from launching aggressive border raids against his neighbors, including Egypt.

Events reached a high point in 1956 when, ignoring explicit American warnings, Israel launched a war against Egypt in concert with the French and the British. That coalition was itself very much the product of the preceding two years of Israeli activism. By demonstrating Israel’s willingness to act independently of Washington, and by showcasing considerable military prowess, Ben-Gurion had laid the groundwork for an alliance with France that in the next decade would prove a godsend to the newly independent Jewish state. It was, indeed, the French who roped the British into the coalition against Egypt.

 

Although much has changed since then, there is a good deal to be learned from this historical example. Specifically, if Israel were to revitalize Ben-Gurion’s activism in today’s circumstances, what goals would it pursue?

In addressing this question, Haivry himself argues in favor of “abandoning the preoccupation of the last decades with two issues at the expense of virtually all others: namely, the conflict with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear threat.” Ben-Gurion’s track record suggests otherwise, especially with regard to Iran.

In the 1950s, the Israeli leader’s top priority was arresting the advance of Egyptian militarypower. The Soviet arms deal gave Nasser an edge: an advantage that to Ben-Gurion represented a threat on the same order as the Iranian nuclear threat represents to Israel today. Indeed, if Ben-Gurion were reincarnated as an adviser to Netanyahu, he would undoubtedly draw a parallel between the rise of Iran as a nuclear power—and the American posture that has inadvertently facilitated that rise—and his own experience with Nasser.

Just like Egypt in the 1950s, Iran today presents a nexus of three key factors: malevolent intention, lethal capabilities, and strategic determination. None of Israel’s other antagonists on the Middle East scene exhibits such a multidimensional challenge. Al-Qaeda, to be sure, is fearsome. But Sunni jihadism in general is organizationally fragmented, militarily weak, and strategically inept. The danger it poses to Israel is real enough, but hardly rises to the level of an existential threat.

The primacy of the Iranian challenge raises a key question. If Ben-Gurion were alive today, would he urge Netanyahu to follow his example in 1956 and launch a strike against Iran that could, plausibly, turn into full-scale war? The answer is almost assuredly no.

Let’s assume that Israel actually possesses the military capability to destroy the Iranian nuclear program (a big assumption). In the event that led to all-out military confrontation, it would lack great-power support, something that Ben-Gurion regarded as an absolute prerequisite. In 1956, he gave the order to attack only after he had ensured the backing of Britain and France.

Netanyahu enjoys no such support today. Getting into a war with Iran all by himself would be easy enough. But getting out of it would require the good offices of the United States, which he cannot count on.

 

This, however, does not entirely nullify the activist option. Extrapolating from his behavior in 1954-55, but stopping short of war, Ben-Gurion would press forward with the most muscular policy possible, especially through an aggressive covert campaign against the Iranian nuclear program. All the while, using the model of Britain and France in 1956, he would search for actors willing to partner with Israel against Iran on the wider Mideast scene.

Granted, it is not entirely clear that such actors exist; but the possibility is insufficiently explored in Haivry’s analysis. For example, after discussing the three “clusters” of states in today’s Middle East, Haivry writes: “Israel is, to say the least, not a good fit for any of these regional groupings.” He thereby scants one of the most striking developments of the last three years—namely, the confluence of interests between Israel and the Sunni Gulf states, Saudi Arabia first and foremost.

A reincarnated Ben-Gurion would certainly investigate whether behind-the-scenes cooperation between Riyadh and Jerusalem was possible, and whether an activist foreign policy could help to solidify it. The arena offering the greatest potential for such cooperation is Syria, where shifting the balance against Iran’s proxy Hizballah is in the interest of both the Saudis and the Israelis. An additional advantage in Syria is that Netanyahu can act aggressively there without unduly complicating relations with Washington.

Of course, the impediments to cooperation between Jerusalem and Riyadh are considerable, and it would be difficult to pull off even a covert alignment with any effectiveness. But the Middle East is changing rapidly, and the stakes are very high. It would be a mistake to assume that yesterday’s impossibility will remain unthinkable tomorrow.

Who knows? In the process of courting the Gulf states, Netanyahu might even find other partners whose cooperation he could not have foreseen. After all, Ben-Gurion planned neither the alliance with France nor the alignment with Britain. It was his activism that generated both relationships. Activism, he understood, was a form of advertisement.

Ariel Sharon, Israeli Hawk Who Sought Peace on His Terms, Dies at 85

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Ariel Sharon, one of the most influential figures in Israel’s history, a military commander and political leader who at the height of his power redrew the country’s electoral map, only to suffer a severe stroke from which he never recovered, died Saturday in a hospital near Tel Aviv. He was 85.

Gilad Sharon, one of his two surviving sons, told reporters at the hospital where the former prime minister spent most of the last eight years that his father “went when he decided to go.”

A cunning and unforgiving general who went on to hold nearly every top government post, including prime minister at the time he was struck ill, Mr. Sharon spent his final years in what doctors defined as a state of minimal consciousness in a sterile suite at the hospital, Sheba Medical Center. Visits were restricted for fear of infection.

Prof. Shlomo Nov of the medical center said heart failure was “the direct cause of his death,” resulting from organ deterioration that had deepened over “a number of days.”

Timeline: Sharon, Through the Years

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the nation bowed its head to a man he described as “first and foremost a brave soldier and an outstanding military commander” who “had a central role in the battle for Israel’s security from the very beginning.”

In many ways, Mr. Sharon’s story was that of his country. A champion of an iron-fisted, territory-expanding Zionism for most of his life, he stunned Israel and the world in 2005 with a Nixon-to-China reversal and withdrew all Israeli settlers and troops from Gaza. He then abandoned his Likud Party and formed a centrist movement called Kadima focused on further territorial withdrawal and a Palestinian state next door.

Mr. Sharon was incapacitated eight years ago, in January 2006, and in elections that followed, Kadima still won the most votes. His former deputy, Ehud Olmert, became prime minister. But the impact of Mr. Sharon’s political shift went beyond Kadima. The hawkish Likud Party, led by his rival, Mr. Netanyahu, was returned to power in 2009, and Mr. Netanyahu, too, said then that he favored a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

An architect of Israeli settlements in the occupied lands, Mr. Sharon gained infamy for his harsh tactics against the Palestinians over whom Israel ruled. That reputation began to soften after his election as prime minister in 2001, when he first talked about the inevitability of Palestinian statehood.

Israeli settlers, who had seen him as their patron, considered him an enemy after he won re-election in 2003. In addition to withdrawing from Gaza and a small portion of the West Bank, he completed part of a 450-mile barrier along and through parts of the West Bank — a barrier he had originally opposed. It not only reduced infiltration by militants into Israel but also provided the outline of a border with a future Palestinian state, albeit one he envisioned as having limited sovereignty.

Before becoming ill, Mr. Sharon was said to have been planning further withdrawals of Jewish settlers and troops from Palestinian lands in hopes of fulfilling the central goal of his life: ensuring a viable and strong state for the Jewish people in their historic homeland.

But even if he had stayed healthy, his plans might have been interrupted by the rise of the militant Palestinian group Hamas, the 2006 conflict with the militant group Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and increased concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Sharon viewed negotiating with Palestinian leaders as pointless; he felt they had neither the will nor the power to live up to their promises. Mr. Sharon said he believed that by carrying out the withdrawal unilaterally and building the barrier to include large Israeli settlement blocks, he was ensuring a Jewish state with defensible borders. Critics argued that by redeploying without handing responsibility to the Palestinian Authority, he had increased the power of Hamas.

Mr. Sharon’s final years in power contained surprises beyond the settlement reversal. He had long shown disdain for diplomacy, yet calculated his new path directly in line with what he thought the United States would accept and support. And though he had forced Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to remain a prisoner in his Ramallah compound, Mr. Sharon built a cordial relationship with his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, after Mr. Arafat  died in 2004.

Despite years of antagonism, Hosni Mubarak, then president of Egypt, and King Abdullah II of Jordan gave Mr. Sharon public support in pursuing a solution to the conflict. Those close to him said he had always been more pragmatic than most people realized.

Pragmatism and Resilience

Thick-limbed and heavyset, with blue eyes, a ready smile and a shock of blond hair that whitened as he aged, Mr. Sharon was the archetypal Zionist farmer-soldier. He was not religiously observant, but he was deeply attached to Jewish history and culture and to the land where much of that history had occurred. He believed unshakably that reliance on others had brought his people disaster, and that Jews must assert and defend their collective needs without embarrassment or fear of censure.

As he put it in “Warrior,” his 1989 autobiography, “The great question of our day is whether we, the Jewish people of Israel, can find within us the will to survive as a nation.”

Defiant and brusque, Mr. Sharon had many enemies, who denounced him as self-promoting, self-righteous and unyielding. But he was also courtly to his political rivals and had a surprising sense of humor. His popular appeal was consistently underestimated.

He was dismissed as washed up in 1983 when he was forced to resign as defense minister after an official committee charged him with “indirect responsibility” for a Lebanese massacre of hundreds of Palestinians the previous year.

Mr. Sharon survived that humiliation and remained politically active enough to take command of his rudderless Likud Party after a 1999 rout by Labor. Even then, he was viewed as a seat warmer for younger leaders, yet he surprised everyone again when, in 2001, he was elected prime minister in the biggest landslide in Israel’s history.

He entered office four months into a violent Palestinian uprising. Israeli voters selected him over Ehud Barak, his predecessor, in the hope that Mr. Sharon would restore security.

Given how he had crushed the Palestinian guerrilla infrastructure in Gaza in the early 1970s, there was logic to his election. But there was a paradox, too. It was Mr. Sharon’s visit, in September 2000, accompanied by hundreds of Israeli police officers, to the holy site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, that helped set off the riots that became the second Palestinian uprising.

Once elected, he brought dovish members of Labor into his cabinet to form a government of national unity to contend with growing Palestinian and Arab hostility after the collapse of a seven-year Middle East peace effort begun at Oslo, under the Labor-led government of Yitzhak Rabin.

Mr. Sharon faced clashes between, on one side, Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza and, on the other, Palestinian militiamen and guerrillas. And there were many episodes of Palestinian terrorism inside Israel.

He responded by sending envoys to the Palestinian leadership and calling for an end to the violence. But when that proved fruitless, he proceeded with force, moving tanks and heavy equipment into areas that Israel had previously turned over to Palestinian control.

The border with Lebanon also grew tense, and previously cordial relations with Jordan and Egypt, more moderate governments, froze. Hopes for amity between Israel and its neighbors seemed the dimmest in a decade.

But Mr. Sharon said that if peace could be forged out of the century-long conflict, he would be its blacksmith. He had, he said, a firm grasp on Israel’s security needs and understood his adversaries.

In the years before Mr. Sharon’s election, it was often said that the Middle East had entered a new era of coexistence fostered by the Oslo peace negotiations and increased global interdependence. This struck Mr. Sharon as dangerously naïve, and most of his fellow Israelis came to agree with him.

“The war of independence has not ended,” he told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in April 2001. “No, 1948 was just one chapter.” He added: “The end of the conflict will come only when the Arab world recognizes the innate right of the Jewish people to establish an independent Jewish state in the Middle East. And that recognition has not yet come.”

It was a theme taken up later by Mr. Netanyahu as well.

A Zionist Vision

Mr. Sharon was born Ariel Scheinerman on Feb. 27, 1928, on a semicollective farm, or moshav, named Kfar Malal, about 15 miles northeast of Tel Aviv. His parents, Samuel Scheinerman and the former Vera Schneirov, had emigrated from Russia. His mother, from a wealthy Belarussian family, was forced to interrupt her studies in medicine by the Russian Revolution. His father was a Zionist youth leader and agronomy student in Russia and a farmer in Palestine.

The isolation and mistrust of others that characterized Mr. Sharon’s relationships throughout his life had familial roots. His parents, who brought him up to treasure classical music and Russian literature, disdained their fellow moshav dwellers as unlettered and uncouth. Theirs was the only farm on the moshav with a fence around it.

In his autobiography, Mr. Sharon described his father as cantankerous and stingy with love. As a child, he reported, he felt lonely. Known from boyhood by the nickname Arik, Mr. Sharon began his military career in the Gadna, a paramilitary high school organization.

After graduation and a special course, he became a Gadna instructor at an agricultural school. His own instructor, Micah Almog, told biographers that even then Mr. Sharon refused to follow any script given to him and insisted on teaching his own way. He also joined the Haganah, the main underground Zionist fighting brigade, which became the Israel Defense Forces after independence.

In 1947, Mr. Sharon worked for the Haganah in the vast, flat stretch north of Tel Aviv that is called the Sharon Plain. It was from there that he took his new Israeli family name in the emerging Zionist tradition of Hebraizing the names brought from the diaspora. This was part of the plan to create a “new Jew” rooted in the homeland and no longer tied to the Old World.

At the height of the independence war, in May 1948, Mr. Sharon’s unit was sent to take part in the battle of Latrun against the Jordanian Army, at the foot of the hilly entrance to Jerusalem. It was a disastrous battle for the Zionists, and Mr. Sharon was badly wounded in the abdomen. Despite initial rescue efforts, he lay abandoned and bleeding for hours, and nearly died. It was an early and influential encounter with what he considered incompetence above him.

When he was 20, Mr. Sharon married a young Romanian immigrant named Margalit Zimmerman, who had been his student in Gadna and who went by the nickname Gali. After the 1948 war, he remained in the army and served in a number of posts around the country. In 1952, he took a leave from the army, and the couple moved to Jerusalem, where Mr. Sharon began Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University and his wife became a psychiatric nurse.

A Reputation for Boldness

Mr. Sharon had already earned a reputation as an effective battalion commander who believed that Israel had been timid in the face of Arab border provocation. Many of his superiors were wary of him, but others, including David Ben-Gurion, the country’s founding prime minister, admired his boldness.

In 1953, Mr. Sharon was asked to form and lead the first elite commando force for special operations behind enemy lines. It was named Unit 101, and although it operated as an independent unit for less than a year, it became legendary in Israel. The aim of the unit was to retaliate for cross-border raids, Arab violations of the 1949 armistice agreements and attacks against Israeli civilian targets.

The unit’s first major operation came in October 1953, after an Israeli woman and her two children were killed while sleeping in their home in the town of Yehud. Mr. Sharon led a reprisal raid on the Jordanian town of Qibya, which was said to be harboring Palestinian guerrillas.

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Mr. Sharon met with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt at the Movenpick Golf Resort in Sharm El-Sheikh in 2005. Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

The battle of Qibya, in which 69 people were killed, more than half of them women and children, and 45 houses were demolished, brought Israel its first condemnation by the United Nations Security Council and became a Palestinian rallying cry for a generation.

A furor erupted in Israel over the civilian deaths, but the government did not investigate and covered up for the commando unit by saying that no Israeli soldiers had been involved. The raid, Ben-Gurion said at the time, must have been by people around Jerusalem, “refugees from Arab countries and survivors of Nazi concentration camps, who had suffered terribly at the hands of their tormentors and had shown great restraint until now.”

Unit 101 cultivated a sense among its members of being above rules and able to operate under the most severe conditions, an attitude that later permeated all elite Israeli military units.

In the 1956 Sinai campaign, Mr. Sharon commanded a paratroop brigade and violated orders by driving his men deep into Sinai to the Mitla Pass, where they were ambushed by Egyptian forces and sustained dozens of deaths, with scores of soldiers wounded. He had been unaware of a deal among Britain, France and Israel regarding the Mitla Pass. He was not shy with his complaints or sense of betrayal, and when the war ended his career suffered.

It was a period of personal loss as well. In May 1962, his wife, Gali, was killed when the car she was driving veered out of its lane and was hit by a truck. Mr. Sharon later married Gali’s younger sister, Lily, who had followed her to Israel. Lily became a mother to his son Gur, and together she and Mr. Sharon had two more sons, Omri and Gilad.

In 1964, Mr. Sharon’s flagging military career was revived by Mr. Rabin, then the chief of staff, who made him chief of the northern command. When the 1967 war broke out in June, Mr. Sharon was sent south to his old command area and played a crucial role on the Egyptian front.

When the war ended in a stunning victory for Israel — which had tripled its land mass and defeated the combined armies of Jordan, Syria and Egypt — Mr. Sharon felt a euphoria nearly unmatched in his life, he wrote in his autobiography.

Personal tragedy struck again soon. In October 1967, Gur, 11, his eldest son, was playing with friends with an old hunting rifle, stuffing it with gunpowder. A neighbor boy playfully aimed it at Gur’s head and pulled the trigger. Mr. Sharon, who was alone in the house at the time, ran out at the sound of the blast, scooped his son off the ground and flagged down a passing car to go to a hospital. The boy died en route.

His wife, Lily, remained Mr. Sharon’s fiercely loyal companion until her death from cancer in 2000. His two sons survive him, as do a number of grandchildren.

A Turn to Politics

Mr. Sharon’s relations with his military superiors remained tense as the country faced intermittent Palestinian guerrilla attacks in what became known as the War of Attrition. He was nearly thrown out of the army in 1969.

In 1970, as commander of the south, Mr. Sharon crushed Palestinian guerrilla units in the Gaza Strip. He bulldozed homes and groves, imposed collective punishment, set up intelligence units of Israelis who could pass for Palestinians and established the first Jewish settlements to hamper travel and communication of Palestinians.

In 1973, Mr. Sharon felt drawn to politics. With help from American friends, he also bought a large farm in the Negev Desert — it remains the largest privately owned farm in the country — and talked about retirement from the military. But that October, a shocking invasion by Egypt and Syria, a war that Israel nearly lost, delayed his plans.

He pulled off his most extraordinary feat of combat when he waged a daring crossing of the Suez Canal behind Egyptian lines, a move often described as either brilliant or foolhardy, and a turning point in the war.

Mr. Sharon had been hit in the head by a shifting tank turret, and photographs of him with his head bandaged appeared in many newspapers and remain a symbol of that war. After that, Mr. Sharon did retire and helped engineer the birth of the Likud bloc, a political union between the Liberal Party and the more right-wing Herut Party of Menachem Begin.

Mr. Begin, who was in many ways more Polish than Israeli, admired Mr. Sharon for his gruffness, courage and energy, and as a native-born symbol of the emancipated Jew. Mr. Sharon won his first election to Parliament, on the Likud ticket, in December 1973. But he quickly found the confines of Parliament, with its wheeling and dealing and endless committee meetings, not to his liking. He fought with his political allies, grew impatient and thirsted for more decisive action.

In the spring, he led a group of Israelis into the West Bank near the city of Nablus and, using the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by members of Parliament, helped them establish an illegal settlement. He then quit Parliament and returned to the army. Mr. Rabin had become prime minister and brought Mr. Sharon into the prime minister’s office as a special adviser. He held the job for about a year, and Mr. Sharon later wrote that this first exposure to central political power was extremely instructive.

In 1977, Mr. Begin’s Likud bloc beat Labor in the general elections, the first time in Israeli history that Labor was ousted from power. Its loss was the result of several factors: the 1973 military debacle, rampant party corruption, and the feeling of neglect and injury of Jewish immigrants from North Africa and the Arab world, the Sephardim, who had become a majority of the population.

Mr. Sharon, who had struck out on his own with an independent party that failed to take off, joined the Begin cabinet as agriculture minister and set about constructing Jewish settlements in the West Bank to prevent Israel from relinquishing the territory. The plan worked well, forcing future Israeli governments to care for and protect the settlers, who now number more than 350,000 in the West Bank, with an additional 200,000 in annexed areas of East Jerusalem.

Shortly after Mr. Begin’s election, the Egyptian president, Anwar el-Sadat, offered to come to Jerusalem and negotiate a peace treaty in exchange for a full return to Egypt of the Sinai Peninsula, lost in the 1967 war, and autonomy for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It was a historic offer, and many Israelis did not know whether the Egyptians could be trusted. Mr. Sharon was among the doubters and voted against the deal as a cabinet member, although he then voted for it in the full Parliament. The offer led to the Camp David accords and the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which returned Sinai to Egypt.

Mr. Sharon made no secret of his ambition to be defense minister, but he had to wait until the 1981 re-election of Mr. Begin. He made clear that his biggest concern was southern Lebanon, where Palestinian guerrilla groups had taken advantage of that country’s chaos and set up a ministate, with militias and weapons, using it as a launching pad for attacks on Israel’s north.

Lebanon and Beyond

In June 1982, after Palestinian guerrillas tried to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London, leaving him critically wounded, Mr. Sharon began the invasion of Lebanon, saying it would last 48 hours. He saw it as an opportunity not only to remove the Palestinian threat but also to form a strategic alliance with Lebanon’s Christian elite by helping install its members in a new government and signing a peace treaty with a second neighbor.

Things went well at first. The Israeli military rooted out the Palestinian groups and built an alliance with the Phalangist Party, led by the Gemayel family. Mr. Sharon’s popularity in Israel soared.

But the Reagan administration and others grew wary and then angry as the Israeli invasion seemed not to end but rather to take on an increasingly punishing nature, including the saturation bombing of Beirut neighborhoods and delaying agreed-upon cease-fires. Some historians have accused Mr. Sharon of deceiving Mr. Begin and the rest of the cabinet on his broader intent for the war as it progressed.

Whether he was acting alone or in concert, Mr. Sharon saw his plans for Lebanon derail. Less than three weeks after his ally Bashir Gemayel was elected president in late August with the Israeli military’s help, he was assassinated in an explosion at his party headquarters.

The Israelis, in violation of a cease-fire agreement with the United States, sent troops into several West Beirut neighborhoods. These included Sabra and Shatila, Palestinian refugee camps where, the Israelis asserted, the Palestine Liberation Organization had residual bases and arms and thousands of fighters. That claim was disputed by American diplomats who said that Palestinian fighters had already been moved out of the area. The Israelis nonetheless sent in the Phalangists, who killed hundreds of civilians.

The massacre provoked international outrage, and many Israelis, already despondent that the “48-hour” Lebanon incursion had turned into a lengthy military and geopolitical adventure, were outraged. There were furious calls for Mr. Sharon’s resignation.

Mr. Sharon and Mr. Begin said this was intolerable slander. As Mr. Begin said, using the Hebrew word for non-Jews, “Goyim kill goyim, and they blame the Jews.” Nonetheless, even Mr. Begin started to distance himself from Mr. Sharon, whose political demise began to seem inevitable.

The government established an official investigation of the massacre, led by Israel’s chief justice, Yitzhak Kahan. The investigating committee absolved Mr. Sharon of direct responsibility, but said he should have anticipated that sending enraged militiamen of the Phalange into Palestinian neighborhoods right after the assassination of the group’s leader amounted to an invitation to carnage. The committee recommended his resignation.

Time magazine reported that Mr. Sharon had actually urged the Gemayel family to have its troops take revenge on the Palestinians for the death of Mr. Gemayel. The magazine said Mr. Sharon made this point during his condolence visit to the family. It claimed further that a secret appendix to the Kahan Commission report made this clear.

Mr. Sharon sued Time for libel and won a partial victory in Federal District Court in New York. The court found that the secret appendix, which contained names of Israeli intelligence officers, included no assertion by Mr. Sharon of the need for Phalangist revenge. But it ruled that Mr. Sharon had not been libeled because he could not prove “malice” on the magazine’s part.

In February 1983, the Israeli cabinet voted 16 to 1 to remove Mr. Sharon as defense minister. He remained as a minister without portfolio. His was the sole dissenting vote.

Depressed over the war and his wife’s recent death, Mr. Begin resigned as prime minister in September 1983 and was succeeded by Yitzhak Shamir. The 1984 election was a tie between Labor and Likud, and Mr. Sharon played a crucial role in negotiating a unity government with Mr. Peres of Labor whereby each party occupied the premiership for two years. Mr. Sharon remained active in politics throughout the 1980s and ’90s.

After Mr. Netanyahu defeated Mr. Peres in 1996 to become prime minister, Mr. Sharon joined Mr. Netanyahu at the Wye Plantation in Maryland to negotiate a continuation of the peace process with Mr. Arafat and the Palestinians.

But Mr. Sharon remained aloof from the talks, and pointedly refused to shake Mr. Arafat’s hand, as Mr. Rabin had done on the White House lawn in 1993. Mr. Sharon said that he had spent years trying to kill Mr. Arafat, and that he was not about to shake his hand.

Mr. Barak, of the Labor Party, defeated Mr. Netanyahu in 1999, but after the collapse of his peace talks with the Palestinians, Mr. Barak called for new elections for early 2001. It was widely expected that Mr. Netanyahu would run for the Likud Party. When he decided not to, Mr. Sharon, the stand-in party chief, became the unexpected candidate and surprise winner.

He brought Mr. Peres in as foreign minister, and the two septuagenarians, who as young men had sat at the elbows of Ben-Gurion when he ran the newly formed country, found themselves back together. Their partnership continued to thrive, and Mr. Peres left the Labor Party, which had been his political home his entire life, to join Mr. Sharon’s Kadima Party. Mr. Peres was later elected the country’s president.

Raanan Gissin, a close aide, said the main reason Mr. Sharon went from a champion of the settlements to an advocate of territorial withdrawal was growing international pressure for a Palestinian state.

“He was not an ideologue; he was a political architect,” Mr. Gissin said. “As a military man he knew one thing from the battlefield — you have to seize the initiative, you have to be the one driving the action. Even if peace was impossible, he wanted the process seeking it to be on his terms. And while he was in power, it was.”

Francis Looks to the Developing World in Appointing New Cardinals

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ROME — Pope Francis continued reshaping the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday by appointing his first group of cardinals with an emphasis on Asia, Africa and Latin America, even as he also made omissions that signal his distaste for the traditional clerical career ladder.

Nine months into his papacy, Francis has sought to shift the tone of the church, with a special focus on helping the poor. On Sunday, he named cardinals from small, poor countries like Haiti, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua and Ivory Coast. He also named a second cardinal for the Philippines, a heavily Catholic nation struggling to recover from a devastating typhoon.

“The idea is definitely to move to the south,” said Alberto Melloni, a prominent Vatican historian.

For any pope, appointing cardinals is a chance to shape the direction and future of the universal church, since the 120 members of the College of Cardinals elect new popes. Francis was elected last March after the resignation of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who stepped down amid scandals at the Vatican.

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Pope Francis named 16 new cardinals and three emeritus cardinals at the Vatican on Sunday. Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press

But Francis’s appointments to the college are also part of his larger plans for the church, which include overhauling the Roman Curia, the bureaucracy that runs the Vatican, and opening a broad debate on the theme of family that could touch on delicate issues like homosexuality and divorce. The cardinals are expected to meet on Feb. 22 at the Vatican for a consistory, a formal meeting, to begin discussions. New cardinals will be formally appointed at that meeting.

For centuries, Europeans, and especially Italians, dominated the College of Cardinals, even as growth in the church shifted to Latin America, Africa and Asia. This disconnect became glaring during the consistory in February 2012, when more than half of those in attendance were European, even though the numbers in the pews were stagnating across the Continent. Benedict, who had named a heavy share of Europeans and Italians, responded in his final group of appointments by choosing cardinals outside Europe.

Now Francis, who is from Argentina and is the first non-European pope in modern times, has continued that trend and seems likely to keep doing so. This time, Francis named 16 new cardinals, along with three other emeritus cardinals above the age of 80 (who are not eligible to vote in future conclaves to elect a pope). Of the 16, nine are from Asia, Africa or Latin America, six are from Europe (including four from the Roman Curia) and one is from Canada. None are from the United States.

Candida R. Moss, a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, called it “noteworthy” that no American cardinals were named but said the United States was already well represented with 11 cardinals.

“The disproportionate representation of wealthy nations in the College of Cardinals is something that Francis is trying to rectify here, in keeping with his general concern for the poor,” she said in an email.

The Pope’s Choices For New Cardinals

BRITAIN

CANADA

GERMANY

ITALY

SPAIN

SOUTH

KOREA

HAITI

BURKINA FASO

PHILIPPINES

ST. LUCIA

NICARAGUA

IVORY

COAST

BRAZIL

CHILE

ARGENTINA

Even as Francis selected a diverse range of cardinals from around the world, he chose only three from South America, where the pope previously served as a cardinal in Buenos Aires. He elevated Mario Aurelio Poli, his handpicked successor as archbishop in Buenos Aires, as well as Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, the archbishop of Santiago, and Orani João Tempesta, the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro.

Among the other choices outside Europe were Andrew Yeom Soo jung, archbishop of Seoul, South Korea; Chibly Langlois, bishop of Les Cayes in Haiti; Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua.

Francis also used his appointments to send unequivocal signals about the curia, the Italian church and the pastoral style he favors. In the past, winning appointment to lead a powerful department in the Roman Curia often meant that the red hat of cardinal would follow.

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The pope instead overlooked several department heads. Of the four curial officials he did select, three are allies that he has named to key positions, including Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the second-in-command at the Vatican.

Mr. Melloni, the Vatican expert, said Francis had also made it plain that the old career track in the Italian church — which has long enjoyed broad influence in the Vatican — no longer applied. Francis did not elevate archbishops in Venice or Turin, even though cardinals have traditionally led both dioceses. Meanwhile, he did name Gualtiero Bassetti from Perugia, a smaller diocese that has not had a cardinal for more than a century.

“He is not bound by the idea that if you are in a certain diocese, it is sure you will be a cardinal soon,” said Mr. Melloni, the director of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies, a liberal Catholic research institute in Bologna. “He is making clear that he does not want to enter or accept any of the mechanisms used before to make careers.”

Vatican experts also noted that Francis favored men who had worked long years as priests before becoming bishops, and who had shown the sort of merciful pastoral style he advocates. And the Vatican also highlighted the selection of Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla as an emeritus cardinal. He is 98, and served as the secretary for Pope John XXIII, who will be canonized by Francis in April during the continuing commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

Israel’s ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies

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Ariel Sharon (November 2005)

Ariel Sharon’s life was intimately entwined with the life of the country he loved from the moment of its birth.

He fought in its war of independence in 1948 and from that point until he slipped into a coma in 2006 it seemed there was hardly a moment of national drama in which he did not play a role.

He was always a controversial figure in Israeli politics – certainly not universally loved – but in mourning his passing, Israelis are marking the loss of one of the few public figures left whose career stretched back to the earliest days of their state.

Ariel Sharon’s roots were in the world of Zionist pioneering zeal – he was born between the two world wars in Palestine when it was under British control – to a Jewish couple who had fled to the Holy Land from Belarus.

Ariel Sharon in Sinai (October 1967)Sharon was admired among Israelis for his military exploits

His reputation as an uncompromising and unapologetic defender of his country’s interests dates back to his military career.

He was still a teenager when he fought in the war of 1948 and in his autobiography, fittingly called Warrior, he described intense fighting against soldiers from the Jordanian Arab Legion for control of a crucial police fort on the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

He and his men lay in fields ignited by gunfire in the burning heat with water and ammunition running low.

He remained a soldier for many years afterwards, fighting with distinction in Israel’s battles with its Arab enemies in the wars of 1967 and 1973.

He helped set up Unit 101 – a commando detachment whose job was to conduct reprisal operations across the border in Arab territories to retaliate for attacks against Israel.

Such was his reputation as a military commander that some accounts of his army career say he was nicknamed the Lion of God after a particularly daring tactical parachute operation against Egypt in 1967 in the Sinai desert.

Shadow of Lebanon

But already there was a dark undertone. Allegations emerged that Egyptian prisoners had been shot and there were questions at home about whether the operation had been a military necessity.

Fifteen years later, it was another dark episode that brought Ariel Sharon international attention.

Continue reading the main story

Political Career

  • 1973: Elected Knesset member for Likud
  • 1975-77: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s special security adviser
  • 1977-81: Minister of Agriculture
  • 1981-83: Minister of Defence
  • 1984-90: Minister of Trade and Industry
  • 1990-92: Minister of Construction and Housing
  • 1996-98: Minister of National Infrastructure
  • 1998-99: Foreign Minister
  • 2001-2006: Prime Minister
  • 2005: Left Likud to found Kadima

He was minister of defence when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. The strategic goal was to bring stability to the country’s northern border by crushing Yasser Arafat’s PLO, which was then holed up in southern Lebanon and Beirut.

But the war was deeply controversial at home as well as in the wider world.

And there was worse too.

Fighters from a Christian militia group which was co-operating closely with the Israelis carried out extensive massacres in Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatilla.

It is likely the names of those camps will be associated with Mr Sharon’s own name as long as the history of that conflict is remembered.

Eventually an Israeli inquiry held that Ariel Sharon was “indirectly responsible” for the killing.

The war cost many lives – Israeli as well as Palestinian and Lebanese – and it casts a long shadow over his historical legacy.

Second intifada

Within Israel Mr Sharon was not finished though.

Long a supporter of the settlers who moved on to the lands Israel captured in the war of 1967 in defiance of international opinion, he saw himself as a natural leader of the Israeli right.

In a volatile place, he could be a provocative figure.

Paul Adams looks back on the life and legacy of Ariel Sharon

In the year 2000, flanked by hundreds of Israeli riot police, he staged a visit to the area of the Old City in Jerusalem which contains sites sacred both to Jews and Muslims – the Temple Mount or Harem al-Sharif.

Even though the area is in the part of East Jerusalem captured by Israel in the war of 1967, Jewish rights to pray there are limited – and it is a microcosm of the tensions that fuel the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

Intense rioting followed his visit there and many people trace the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada to that moment.

Ariel Sharon was characteristically unrepentant.

Bold moves

He became prime minister in 2001, promising to bring peace and security to his country but it was a turbulent period in Israeli politics and he eventually left the governing Likud party to found his own Kadima movement while still in office.

Ariel Sharon in Nitzanim, north of Gaza (May 2005)Sharon pulled Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, a move which divided his supporters

Peace remained elusive then as it is elusive now.

It was on his watch as prime minister that construction of a barrier began with the intention of preventing suicide attacks on Israel from the Palestinian territories.

His supporters would argue that it worked. Its detractors would say it entrenched an already deep sense of separateness.

He did not shy away from bold political moves though. The man who had supported Israeli settlers ordered their removal from Gaza when he decided to withdraw from the Palestinian enclave beside the Mediterranean in 2005.

It was precisely his reputation as a hardliner that allowed him to sell to his supporters a decision with which many felt instinctively uncomfortable.

Not long afterwards, he slipped into the coma from which he was never to emerge and we will never know how he would have followed up that decision or where it might have led.

Ariel Sharon died hated by Israel’s enemies but there are plenty of Israelis who would argue that the depth of that hatred was a measure of the success with which he always defended the country he served.

Michael R. Bloomberg

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Cost of Being Mayor? $650 Million, if He’s Rich

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has received over $30 million from him since 2002.

<nyt_byline>KITTY BENNETT

Published: December 29, 2013
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<nyt_text><nyt_correction_top>Michael R. Bloomberg loves tropical fish. So when he was elected mayor, he installed two giant aquariums in City Hall.

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The cost to him for having the tanks cleaned out every week for the past 12 years: around $62,400.

The mayor likes to nosh, too. So he paid to feed his staff daily a light breakfast (coffee, bagels, yogurt) and a modest lunch (tuna salad, PB&J, sliced fruit).

The bill for his entire mayoralty: about $890,000.

Mr. Bloomberg, above all, enjoys hassle-free travel. When he took his aides anywhere, from Albany to Athens, it was by private plane.

The price tag for all that jetting around: roughly $6 million.

When Mr. Bloomberg leaves office at midnight Tuesday, he will bequeath a litany of record-shattering statistics on crime reduction, sidewalk safety and skyline-altering construction. But perhaps the most staggering figure is the amount of his own money that he devoted, day in and day out, to being mayor — much of it unseen by the public.

An analysis by The New York Times shows that Mr. Bloomberg has doled out at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor. (His estimated tab for a multiday trip to China, with aides and security in tow: $500,000.)

In the process, he has entirely upended the financial dynamics surrounding New York’s top job.

In the past, the city paid its mayor; Mr. Bloomberg paid to be the city’s mayor.

In moves that would make a financial planner’s head spin, he rejected the $2.7 million worth of salary to which he was entitled (accepting just $1 a year) and, starting in 2001, turned on a spigot of cash that has never stopped gushing. He poured at least $268 million of his personal funds into three campaigns for mayor.

He donated at least another $263 million to New York arts, civic, health and cultural groups, personally and through his company, Bloomberg LP.

Campaign donations? He handed out about $23 million of them.

He even chipped in $5 million to renovate an official mayoral residence that he never inhabited. (He preferred the familiar privacy of his own nearby mansion.)

“A modern Medici” is how Mark Green, the former public advocate, described him, reaching back to 15th-century Italy for any kind of precedent.

Mr. Bloomberg’s all-expense-paid mayoralty was, depending on the vantage point, exhilarating (for his aides), infuriating (for his rivals) cost-saving (for his constituents) or selfless (for the beneficiaries of his largess).

But for anyone who interacted with the billionaire, his gilded approach to governing was a breathtaking thing to behold. Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president, recalled the time Mr. Bloomberg invited him to see the new commuter ferries that would bear Mr. Molinari’s name.

Mr. Molinari had assumed that the invitation would mean visiting the boats in the humble waters of Staten Island. Mr. Bloomberg had a grander plan: He whisked Mr. Molinari to Wisconsin on his pristine private plane to view the factory where the ships were being built.

“It’s a beautiful plane,” Mr. Molinari said, “and I remember asking him, ‘What does it cost, a plane like this?’ ”

The mayor’s reply: $28 million.

“I thought to myself,” Mr. Molinari said, “how many people could just take $28 million out of your bank account to buy a plane?”

In the eyes of Chris McNickle, a historian who has written about the city’s mayors, Mr. Bloomberg’s financial might made him the most potent mayor since the birth of modern New York City in late 1800s.

Because he was largely liberated from the demands of campaign donors, interest groups or political parties, “his power was both intensified and expanded,” Mr. McNickle said.

To calculate Mr. Bloomberg’s spending, The Times relied on public documents, travel records, philanthropy databases, conversations with vendors and interviews with his government employees.

The $650 million minimum estimate is undoubtedly low. Up-to-date annual reports were not available for several Bloomberg-financed organizations and a wide range of expenses were impossible to firmly establish, like the dinner parties he hosted at his townhouse, meals he bought for government aides and landing fees paid at foreign airports.

Still, the data suggest that Mr. Bloomberg’s fortune has left few corners of the city untouched, from the biggest cultural institutions to the smallest theater troupes. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has received over $30 million from the mayor since 2002, Mr. Bloomberg has paid for audio guides and wireless Internet, reaching “everyone who walks through our doors,” said Harold Holzer, a senior vice president there.

At the Queens Theater in the Park, Mr. Bloomberg’s annual gifts of $100,000, delivered anonymously starting the year he took office, amounted to a financial life raft that seemed to drop from the sky. “It was beyond our realm of comprehension,” the theater’s former director, Jeffrey Rosenstock, recalled of the windfall.

The common touch has long eluded the mayor as an orator, but down-and-out New Yorkers were a recurring focus of his financial outlays. He wrote a $30 million check to create a city program to improve the lives of disadvantaged black and Latino men.

Mr. Bloomberg’s opponents complained that his free-spending ways purchased political acquiescence, access to ballot lines and a national platform. In moments of candor, his own advisers conceded that without his money, he probably would never have won the office, let alone secured a controversial third term.

But from the perspective of City Hall, his fortune brought benefits far beyond Mr. Bloomberg’s electoral success, encouraging gun control ($7 million), immigration reform ($5.7 million) and volunteerism ($6.2 million).

On this, New Yorkers remain divided: In a poll conducted in August by The Times, 30 percent said Mr. Bloomberg’s wealth had made him a better mayor; 27 percent said it had made him a worse mayor; and 35 percent said it had made no difference.

Mr. Bloomberg loathes discussion of his wealth. His office declined to comment for this article or on the analysis of his spending.

Mr. Green, who felt the full force of Mr. Bloomberg’s money during his mayoral bid 12 years ago, once tried broaching the wealth issue with him a year after the election. Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign had just plowed through $73 million to defeat him — four times what Mr. Green had spent.

“Yeah, well, it was expensive,” he recalled the mayor telling him. And that, more or less, was that.

As the Bloomberg era winds down, placing the future of those fish tanks in doubt, there is a widespread sense that making the city’s richest man its leader was a kind of grand experiment: novel and momentous, sometimes heady, other times unsettling, but unlikely to be repeated.

“We’ve never had anybody like him before,” Mr. Molinari said. “And we are never going to see anybody like this again.”

<nyt_author_id>

Andrew Boryga contributed reporting.

<nyt_correction_bottom>

<nyt_update_bottom>

A version of this article appears in print on December 30, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Cost of Being Mayor? $650 Million, if He’s Rich.
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ARIEL SHARON ( His Wikipedia Article)

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Ariel Sharon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
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Ariel Sharon
אריאל שרון
Ariel Sharon, by Jim Wallace (Smithsonian Institution).jpg
11th Prime Minister of Israel
In office
7 March 2001 – 14 April 2006*
President Moshe Katsav
Deputy Ehud Olmert
Preceded by Ehud Barak
Succeeded by Ehud Olmert
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 October 1998 – 6 June 1999
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by David Levy
Succeeded by David Levy
Minister of Energy and Water Resources
In office
8 July 1996 – 6 July 1999
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Yitzhak Levy
Succeeded by Eli Suissa
Minister of Housing and Construction
In office
11 June 1990 – 13 July 1992
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
Preceded by David Levy
Succeeded by Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour
In office
13 September 1984 – 20 February 1990
Prime Minister Shimon Peres (1984–86)
Yitzhak Shamir (1986–90)
Preceded by Gideon Patt
Succeeded by Moshe Nissim
Minister of Defense
In office
5 August 1981 – 14 February 1983
Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Preceded by Menachem Begin
Succeeded by Menachem Begin
Personal details
Born Ariel Scheinermann
26 February 1928 (age 85)
Kfar MalalBritish Mandate of Palestine
Political party Kadima (formerly Likud andShlomtzion)
Spouse(s) Margalit Sharon (d. 1962);
Lily Sharon (d. 2000)
Children 3
Alma mater Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tel Aviv University
Profession Military officer
Religion Judaism
Signature
Military service
Allegiance  Israel
Service/branch Haganah Symbol.svg Haganah
Flag of the Israel Defence Forces.svg Israel Defense Forces
Years of service 1948–74
Rank IDF aluf.svg Major General
Unit Paratroopers Brigade
Unit 101
Golani Brigade
Commands Southern Command
Paratroopers Brigade
Unit 101
Golani Brigade
Battles/wars Israeli Independence War
Suez Crisis
Six-Day War
Yom Kippur War
*Ehud Olmert serving as Acting Prime Minister from 4 January 2006

Ariel Sharon (HebrewAbout this sound אריאל שרון‎, Arabic: أرئيل شارون‎, Ariʼēl Sharōn, also known by hisdiminutive Arik, אַריק, born Ariel Scheinermann, אריאל שיינרמן‎; 26 February 1928) is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister.

Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948. As a paratrooper and then an officer, he participated prominently in the 1948 War of Independence, becoming a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade and taking part in many battles, including Operation Ben Nun Alef. He was an instrumental figure in the creation ofUnit 101, and the Retribution operations, as well as in the 1956 Suez War, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition, and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973. As Minister of Defense, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War.

During his military career, he was considered the greatest field commander in Israel’s history, and one of the country’s greatest ever military strategists.[1] After his assault of the Sinai in the Six-Day War and his encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army in the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli public nicknamed him “The King of Israel” and “The Lion of God”.[1]

After retiring from the army, Sharon joined the Likud party, and served in a number of ministerial posts in Likud-led governments in 1977–92 and 1996–99. He became the leader of the Likud in 2000, and served as Israel’s Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006. In 1983 theKahan Commission, established by the Israeli Government, found that as Minister of Defense during the 1982 Lebanon War Sharon bore “personal responsibility” for themassacre by Lebanese militias of Palestinian civilians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, for his having disregarded the prospect of acts of bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps, and not having prevented their entry.[2] The Kahan Commission recommended Sharon’s removal as Defense Minister, and Sharon did resign after initially refusing to do so. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Sharon championed construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, as Prime Minister, in 2004–05 Sharon orchestrated Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Facing stiff opposition to this policy within the Likud, in November 2005 he left Likud to form a new Kadima party. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006.[3] His stroke occurred a few months before he had been expected to win a new election and was widely interpreted as planning on “clearing Israel out of most of the West Bank”, in a series of unilateral withdrawals.[4][5][6]

 

 

Early life[edit]

Ariel Sharon at age 14 (second from right)

Sharon was born on 26 February 1928 in Kfar Malal, an agricultural moshav, then in theBritish Mandate of Palestine, to a family of Belarusian Jews—Shmuel Scheinerman (1896–1956) of Brest-Litovsk and Dvora Scheinerman (1900–1988) of Mogilev. His parents met at theTbilisi State University, Georgia, where Sharon’s father was studying agronomy and his mother had just started her fourth year of medical studies. As Bolshevik forces advanced towards independent Georgia, his parents emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine, fleeing the pogroms associated with theRussian Civil War.

The family arrived in the Third Aliyah and settled in a Kfar Malal, a socialist, secularcommunity where, despite being Mapai supporters, they were known to be contrarians against the prevailing community consensus:

The Scheinermans’ eventual ostracism … followed the 1933 Arlozorov murder when Dvora and Shmuel refused to endorse the Labor movement’s anti-Revisionist calumny and participate in Bolshevic-style public revilement rallies, then the order of the day. Retribution was quick to come. They were expelled from the local health-fund clinic and village synagogue. The cooperative’s truck wouldn’t make deliveries to their farm nor collect produce.[7]

Four years after their arrival at Kfar Malal, the Sheinermans had a daughter, Yehudit (Dita), and Ariel was born two years later. At age 10, Sharon entered the Zionist youth movement Hassadeh.

As a young teenager, he first began to take part in the armed night-patrols of his moshav. In 1942 at the age of 14, Sharon joined the Gadna, a paramilitary youth battalion, and later the Haganah, the underground paramilitary force and the Jewish military precursor to theIsrael Defense Forces (IDF).

Military career[edit]

Battle for Jerusalem and 1948 War of Independence[edit]

Sharon as a 19-year-old Haganah fighter in February 1948, armed with Mk 2 hand grenades.

Operation Bin Nun (24–25 May 1948), during which Sharon is shot in the stomach, foot and groin.

Sharon’s unit of the Haganah became engaged in serious and continuous combat from the autumn of 1947, with the onset of the Battle for Jerusalem. Without the manpower to hold the roads, his unit took to making offensive hit-and-run raids on Arab forces in the vicinity of Kfar Malal. In units of thirty men, they would hit constantly at Arab villages, bridges and bases, as well as ambush the traffic between Arab villages and bases.

Sharon wrote: “We had become skilled at finding our way in the darkest nights and gradually we built up the strength and endurance these kind of operations required. Under the stress of constant combat we drew closer to one another and began to operate not just as a military unit but almost as a family. … [W]e were in combat almost every day. Ambushes and battles followed each other until they all seemed to run together.”[8]

For his role in a night-raid on Iraqi forces at Bir Adas, Sharon was made a platoon commander in theAlexandroni Brigade. Following the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the onset of the War of Independence, Sharon’s platoon fended off the Iraqi advance at Kalkiya. Sharon was regarded as a hardened and aggressive soldier, swiftly moving up the ranks during the war. He was shot in the groin, stomach and foot by the Jordanian Arab Legion in the First Battle of Latrun, an unsuccessful attempt to relieve the besieged Jewish community of Jerusalem. On this day, his brigade suffered 139 killed in the battle. Sharon wrote: “Not everyone in my platoon made it. … It was a horrible battle.” After recovering from the wounds received at Latrun, he resumed command of his patrol unit. On 28 December 1948, his platoon attempted to break through an Egyptian stronghold in Iraq-El-Manshia.

Sharon’s subsequent military career would be characterized by insubordination, aggression and disobedience, but also brilliance as a commander.[9]

In September 1949, Sharon was promoted to company commander (of the Golani Brigade‘s reconnaissance unit) and in 1950 to intelligence officer for Central Command. He then took leave to begin studies in history and Middle Eastern culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Unit 101[edit]

A year and a half later, on the direct orders of the Prime Minister, Sharon returned to active service in the rank of major, as the leader of the new Unit 101, a special forces unit whose purpose was to execute reprisal operations in response to Palestinian fedayeen attacks. While operating in compact and well-trained teams, they took part in offensive guerrilla warfare. The unit consisted of 50 men, mostly former paratroopers and Unit 30 personnel. They were armed with non-standard weapons and tasked with carrying out special reprisals across the state’s borders—mainly establishing small unit maneuvers, activation and insertion tactics. Training included actively seeking enemy engagements across Israel’s borders.[10]

The new recruits began a harsh regimen of day and night training, their orientation and navigation exercises often taking them across the border; encounters with enemy patrols or village watchmen were regarded as the best preparation for the missions that lay ahead. Some commanders, such as Baum and Sharon, deliberately sought firefights.

— Israeli historian Benny Morris describes Unit 101.[11]

In retaliation for fedayeen attacks on Israel, Unit 101 undertook a series of raids against Jordan, which then held the West Bank. The raids also helped bolster Israeli morale and convince Arab states that the fledgling nation was capable of long range military action.[citation needed] The unit was known for raids against Arab civilians and military targets, most notably the widely condemnedQibya massacre in the fall of 1953, in which 69 Palestinian civilians, some of them children, were killed when Sharon’s troops dynamited buildings there in a reprisal for a fedayeen attack in Yehud. Sharon said that he had “thought the houses were empty” and that the unit had checked all houses before detonating the explosives.

Sharon, top second from left, with members of Unit 101 after Operation Egged (November 1955). Standing l to r: Lt. Meir Har-Zion, Maj. Arik Sharon, Lt. Gen Moshe Dayan, Capt. Dani Matt, Lt. Moshe Efron, Maj. Gen Asaf Simchoni; On ground, l to r: Capt.Aharon Davidi, Lt. Ya’akov Ya’akov, Capt.Raful Eitan

A few months after its founding, Unit 101 was merged with the 890 Paratroopers Battalion to create the Paratroopers Brigade, of which Sharon would later become commander. It continued its raids into Arab territory, culminating with the attack on the Qalqilyah police station in the autumn of 1956.[12][13]

In the lead up to the Suez War, amongst the missions Sharon took part in included:

From 1958 to 1962, Sharon served as commander of an infantry brigade and studied law atTel Aviv University.

Incidents, such as those involving Meir Har-Zion, along with many others, contributed to the tension between the Prime Minister Moshe Sharett, who often opposed Sharon’s raids, and Moshe Dayan, who had become increasingly ambiguous towards Sharon. Later in the year, Sharon was investigated and tried by the Military Police for disciplining one of his subordinates. However, the charges were dismissed before the onset of the Suez War.

1956 Suez War[edit]

Sharon (left), armed with Ka-Bar combat knife, stands with other paratroop commandos, before Operation Olive Leaves, 1955.

In the 1956 Suez War (the British “Operation Musketeer“), Sharon commanded Unit 202 (the Paratroopers Brigade), and was responsible for taking ground east of the Sinai’s Mitla Pass and eventually taking the pass itself. Having successfully carried out the first part of his mission (joining a battalion parachuted near Mitla with the rest of the brigade moving on ground), Sharon’s unit was deployed near the pass. Neither reconnaissance aircraft nor scouts reported enemy forces inside the Mitla Pass. Sharon, whose forces were initially heading east, away from the pass, reported to his superiors that he was increasingly concerned with the possibility of an enemy thrust through the pass, which could attack his brigade from the flank or the rear.

1956 Israeli conquest of Sinai

Sharon asked for permission to attack the pass several times, but his requests were denied, though he was allowed to check its status so that if the pass was empty, he could receive permission to take it later. Sharon sent a small scout force, which was met with heavy fire and became bogged down due to vehicle malfunction in the middle of the pass. Sharon ordered the rest of his troops to attack in order to aid their comrades.Sharon was criticized by his superiors and he was damaged by allegations several years later made by several former subordinates, who claimed that Sharon tried to provoke the Egyptiansand sent out the scouts in bad faith, ensuring that a battle would ensue.

Sharon had assaulted Themed in a dawn attack, and had stormed the town with his armor through the Themed Gap.[14] Sharon routed the Sudanese police company, and captured the settlement. On his way to the Nakla, Sharon’s men came under attack from Egyptian MIG-15s. On the 30th, Sharon linked up with Eytan near Nakla.[15] Dayan had no more plans for further advances beyond the passes, but Sharon nonetheless decided to attack the Egyptian positions at Jebel Heitan.[15] Sharon sent his lightly armed paratroopers against dug-in Egyptians supported by aircraft, tanks and heavy artillery. Sharon’s actions were in response to reports of the arrival of the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the 4th Egyptian Armored Division in the area, which Sharon believed would annihilate his forces if he did not seize the high ground. Sharon sent two infantry companies, a mortar battery and some AMX-13 tanks under the command of Mordechai Gur into the Heitan Defile on the afternoon of 31 October 1956. The Egyptian forces occupied strong defensive positions and brought down heavy anti-tank, mortar and machine gun fire on the IDF force.[16] Gur’s men were forced to retreat into the “Saucer”, where they were surrounded and came under heavy fire. Hearing of this, Sharon sent in another task force while Gur’s men used the cover of night to scale the walls of the Heitan Defile. During the ensuing action, the Egyptians were defeated and forced to retreat. A total of 260 Egyptian and 38 Israeli soldiers were killed during the battle at Mitla. Sharon’s actions were surrounded in controversy due to these deaths, which many within the IDF criticized as being the result of an act of unnecessary and unauthorised aggression.[15]

Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War[edit]

Conquest of Sinai. 5–6 June 1967

“It was a complex plan. But the elements that went into it were ones I had been developing and teaching for many years… the idea of close combat, nightfighting, surprise paratroop assault, attack from the rear, attack on a narrow front, meticulous planning, the concept of the ‘tahbouleh’, the relationship between headquarters and field command… But all the ideas had matured already; there was nothing new in them. It was simply a matter of putting all the elements together and making them work.”

Ariel Sharon, 1989, on his command at the Battle of Abu-Ageila[17]

Conquest of Sinai. 7–8 June 1967

The Mitla incident hindered Sharon’s military career for several years. In the meantime, he occupied the position of an infantry brigade commander and received a law degree from Tel Aviv University. However, whenYitzhak Rabin became Chief of Staff in 1964, Sharon began again to rise rapidly in the ranks, occupying the positions of Infantry School Commander and Head of Army Training Branch, eventually achieving the rank ofAluf (Major General). In the 1967 Six-Day War, Sharon commanded the most powerful armored division on theSinai front which made a breakthrough in the Kusseima-Abu-Ageila fortified area (see Battle of Abu-Ageila).

Sharon’s offensive strategy at Abu-Ageila led to international commendation by military strategists, which put Sharon at the centre of a new paradigm in operational command. Researchers at the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command studied Sharon’s operational planning, concluding that it involved a number of unique innovations. It was a simultaneous attack by a multiplicity of small forces, each with a specific aim, attacking a particular unit in a synergistic Egyptian defense network. As a result, instead of supporting and covering each other as they were designed to do, each Egyptian unit was left fighting for its own life.[18]

In 1969, he was appointed the Head of IDF’s Southern Command. He had no further promotions before retiring in August 1973. Soon after, he joined the Likud (“Unity”) political party.[19]

Operation Gazelle, Israel’s ground maneuver, encircles the Egyptian Third Army, October 1973

At the start of the Yom Kippur War on 6 October 1973, Sharon was called back to active duty along with his assigned reservearmored division. On his farm, before he left for the front line, the Reserve Commander, Zeev Amit, said to him, “How are we going to get out of this?” Sharon replied. “You don’t know? We will cross the Suez Canal and the war will end over there.” Sharon arrived at the front, to his fourth war, in a civilian car.[20] His forces did not engage the Egyptian Army immediately, despite his requests. Under cover of darkness Sharon’s forces moved to a point on the Suez Canalthat had been prepared before the war. Bridging equipment was thrown across the canal on 17 October. The bridgehead was between two Egyptian Armies. He then headed north towards Ismailia, intent on cutting the Egyptian second army’s supply lines, but his division was halted south of the Fresh Water Canal.[21]

Sharon’s 143rd Division, crossing the Suez Canal, in the direction of Cairo, 15 October 1973.

Abraham (Bren) Adan’s division passed over the bridgehead into Africa advancing to within 101 kilometers of Cairo. His division managed to encircle Suez, cutting off and encircling the Third Army. Tensions between the two generals followed Sharon’s decision, but a military tribunal later found his action was militarily effective. Sharon’s complex ground maneuver is regarded as a decisive move in the Yom Kippur War, undermining the Egyptian Second Army and encircling the Egyptian Third Army.[22] This move was regarded by many Israelis as the turning point of the war in the Sinai front. Thus, Sharon is widely viewed as responsible for Israel’s ground victory in the Sinai in 1973. A photo of Sharon wearing a head bandage on the Suez Canal became a famous symbol of Israeli military prowess.

Sharon’s political positions were controversial and he was relieved of duty in February 1974. Sharon was widowed twice. Shortly after becoming a military instructor, he married Margalit, with whom he had a son, Gur. Margalit died in a car accident in May 1962. Their son, Gur, died in October 1967 after a friend accidentally shot him while they were playing with a rifle.[23][24][25] After Margalit’s death, Sharon married her younger sister, Lily. They had two sons, Omri and Gilad. Lily Sharon died of cancer in 2000.

Early political career[edit]

Beginnings of political career[edit]

In the 1940s and 1950s, Sharon seemed to be personally devoted to the ideals of Mapai, the predecessor of the modern Labor Party. However, after retiring from military service, he was instrumental in establishing Likud in July 1973 by a merger of Herut, the Liberal Party and independent elements. Sharon became chairman of the campaign staff for that year’s elections, which were scheduled for November. Two and a half weeks after the start of the election campaign, the Yom Kippur War erupted and Sharon was called back to reserve service. In the elections Sharon won a seat, but a year later he resigned.

General Ariel Sharon, at theBattle of Abu-Ageila

From June 1975 to March 1976, Sharon was a special aide to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He planned his return to politics for the 1977 elections; first he tried to return to the Likud and replaceMenachem Begin at the head of the party. He suggested to Simha Erlich, who headed the Liberal Party bloc in the Likud, that he was more fitting than Begin to win an election victory; he was rejected, however. He then tried to join the Labor Party and the centrist Democratic Movement for Change, but was rejected by those parties too. Only then did he form his own list, Shlomtzion, which won two Knesset seats in the subsequent elections. Immediately after the elections he merged Shlomtzion with the Likud and became Minister of Agriculture.

When Sharon joined Begin’s government he had relatively little political experience. During this period, Sharon supported the Gush Emunim settlements movement and was viewed as the patron of the settlers’ movement. He used his position to encourage the establishment of a network of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories to prevent the possibility of Palestinian Arabs‘ return of these territories. Sharon doubled the number of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Gaza Strip during his tenure.

On his settlement policy, Sharon said while addressing a meeting of the Tzomet party: “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Judean) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours. … Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”[26]

After the 1981 elections, Begin rewarded Sharon for his important contribution to Likud’s narrow win, by appointing him Minister of Defense.

1982 Lebanon War and Sabra and Shatila massacre[edit]

Minister of Defense Sharon (right) and Caspar Weinberger, 1982

During the 1982 Lebanon War, while Sharon was Defense Minister, the Sabra and Shatila massacre occurred between 16 September and 18. Between 800 and 3,500 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were killed by thePhalanges—Lebanese Maronite Christian militias. The Security Chief of the Phalange militia, Elie Hobeika, was the ground commander of the militiamen who entered the Palestinian camps and killed the Palestinians. The Phalange had been sent into the camps to clear out PLO fighters while Israeli forces surrounded the camps, blocking camp exits and providing logistical support. The killings led some to label Sharon “the Butcher of Beirut”.[27]

An Associated Press report on 15 September 1982 stated:

Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, in a statement, tied the killing [of the Phalangist leader Gemayel] to the PLO, saying: “It symbolises the terrorist murderousness of the PLO terrorist organisations and their supporters.” Habib Chartouni, a Lebanese Christian from the Syrian Socialist National Party confessed to the murder of Gemayel, and no Palestinians were involved. Sharon had used this to instigate the entrance of the Lebanese militias into the camps.[citation needed]

Robert Maroun Hatem, Hobeika’s bodyguard, stated in his book From Israel to Damascus that Hobeika ordered the massacre of civilians in defiance of Israeli instructions to behave like a “dignified” army.[28]

Legal findings[edit]

The investigative Kahan Commission (1982) found the Israeli Defence Forces indirectly responsible for the massacre, as the I.D.F. held the area, and that no Israeli was directly responsible for the events which occurred in the camps.

The Commission determined that the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla was carried out by a Phalangist unit, acting on its own but its entry was known to Israel and approved by Sharon. Prime Minister Begin was found responsible for not exercising greater involvement and awareness in the matter of introducing the Phalangists into the camps.

The Commission also concluded that the defense minister (Sharon) bore personal responsibility “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge [and] not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed”. It said Sharon’s negligence in protecting the civilian population of Beirut, which had come under Israeli control, amounted to a dereliction of duty of the minister.[2] The commission recommended in early 1983 the removal of Sharon from his post as Defense minister and stated:

We have found … that the Minister of Defense [Ariel Sharon] bears personal responsibility. In our opinion, it is fitting that the Minister of Defense draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office—and if necessary, that the Prime Minister consider whether he should exercise his authority … to … remove [him] from office.”[29]

Sharon initially refused to resign as Defense Minister and Begin refused to fire him. After a grenade was thrown into a dispersing crowd of an Israeli Peace Now march, killing Emil Grunzweig and injuring 10 others, a compromise was reached: Sharon agreed to forfeit the post of Defense Minister but stayed in the cabinet as a minister without portfolio.

Sharon’s resignation as Defense Minister is listed as one of the important events of the Tenth Knesset.[30]

In its 21 February 1983 issue, Time published a story implying Sharon was directly responsible for the massacres.[31] Sharon suedTime for libel in American and Israeli courts. Although the jury concluded that the Time story included false allegations, they found thatTime had not acted with “actual malice” and so was not guilty of libel.[32]

On 18 June 2001 relatives of the victims of the Sabra massacre began proceedings in Belgium to have Sharon indicted on alleged war crimes charges.[33] Elie Hobeika, the leader of the Phalange militia who carried out the massacres, was assassinated in January 2001, several months before he was scheduled to testify for a trial, that may or may not have proceeded in Belgium.[34] In June 2002, aBrussels Appeals Court rejected the lawsuit because the law was subsequently changed to disallow such lawsuits unless a Belgian citizen is involved.[35]

Political downturn and recovery[edit]

“I begin with the basic conviction that Jews and Arabs can live together. I have repeated that at every opportunity, not for journalists and not for popular consumption, but because I have never believed differently or thought differently, from my childhood on. … I know that we are both inhabitants of the land, and although the state is Jewish, that does not mean that Arabs should not be full citizens in every sense of the word.”

Ariel Sharon, 1989[36]

After his dismissal from the Defense Ministry post, Sharon remained in successive governments as a minister without portfolio (1983–1984), Minister for Trade and Industry(1984–1990), and Minister of Housing Construction (1990–1992). In the Knesset, he was member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee from (1990–1992) and Chairman of the committee overseeing Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union. During this period he was a rival to then prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, but failed in various bids to replace him as chairman of Likud. Their rivalry reached a head in February 1990, when Sharon grabbed the microphone from Shamir, who was addressing the Likud central committee, and famously exclaimed: “Who’s for wiping out terrorism?” The incident was widely viewed as an apparent coup attempt against Shamir’s leadership of the party.

In Benjamin Netanyahu‘s 1996–1999 government, Sharon was Minister of National Infrastructure (1996–98), and Foreign Minister (1998–99). Upon the election of the Barak Labor government, Sharon became leader of the Likud party.

Campaign for Prime Minister, 2000–2001[edit]

On 28 September 2000, Sharon and an escort of over 1,000 Israeli police officers visited the Temple Mount complex, site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, the holiest place in the world to Jews and the third holiest site in Islam. Sharon declared that the complex would remain under perpetual Israeli control. Palestinian commentators accused Sharon of purposely inflaming emotions with the event to provoke a violent response and obstruct success of delicate ongoing peace talks. On the following day, a large number of Palestinian demonstrators and an Israeli police contingent confronted each other at the site. According to the U.S. State Department, “Palestinians held large demonstrations and threw stones at police in the vicinity of the Western Wall. Police used rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, killing 4 persons and injuring about 200.” According to the GOI, 14 policemen were injured.

Sharon’s visit, a few months before his election as Prime Minister, came after archeologists claimed that extensive building operations at the site were destroying priceless antiquities. Sharon’s supporters claim that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian National Authorityplanned the intifada months prior to Sharon’s visit.[37][38][39] They state that Palestinian security chief Jabril Rajoub provided assurances that if Sharon did not enter the mosques, no problems would arise. They also often quote statements by Palestinian Authority officials, particularly Imad Falouji, the P.A. Communications Minister, who admitted months after Sharon’s visit that the violence had been planned in July, far in advance of Sharon’s visit, stating the intifada “was carefully planned since the return of (Palestinian President) Yasser Arafat from Camp David negotiations rejecting the U.S. conditions”.[40] According to the Mitchell Report,

the government of Israel asserted that the immediate catalyst for the violence was the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations on 25 July 2000 and the “widespread appreciation in the international community of Palestinian responsibility for the impasse.” In this view, Palestinian violence was planned by the PA leadership, and was aimed at “provoking and incurring Palestinian casualties as a means of regaining the diplomatic initiative.”

The Mitchell Report found that

the Sharon visit did not cause the Al-Aqsa Intifada. But it was poorly timed and the provocative effect should have been foreseen; indeed, it was foreseen by those who urged that the visit be prohibited. More significant were the events that followed: The decision of the Israeli police on 29 September to use lethal means against the Palestinian demonstrators.

In addition, the report stated,

Accordingly, we have no basis on which to conclude that there was a deliberate plan by the PA to initiate a campaign of violence at the first opportunity; or to conclude that there was a deliberate plan by the GOI to respond with lethal force.[41]

The Or Commission, an Israeli panel of inquiry appointed to investigate the October 2000 events,

criticised the Israeli police for being unprepared for the riots and possibly using excessive force to disperse the mobs, resulting in the deaths of 12 Arab Israeli, one Jewish and one Palestinian citizens.

A survey conducted by Tel Aviv University’s Jaffe Center in May 2004 found that 80% of Jewish Israelis believed that the Israel Defense Forces had succeeded in militarily countering the Al-Aqsa Intifada.[42]

Prime minister[edit]

President George W. Bush, center, discusses the Middle East peace process with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Aqaba, Jordan, 4 June 2003.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, United States President George W. Bush, and Ariel Sharon, Red Sea Summit, Aqaba, 2003

President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon,White House, 2004

Sharon and Vladimir Putin meeting in Israel.

After the collapse of Barak’s government, Sharon was elected Prime Minister in February 2001. His senior adviser was Raanan Gissin.

On September 2003, Sharon became first prime minister of Israel to visit India, he remarked India as “to be one of the most important countries in the world”. Some analysts talked of developing an axis consisting of DelhiWashington andJerusalem.[43]

On 20 July 2004, Sharon called on French Jews to emigrate from France to Israel immediately, in light of an increase in French anti-Semitism (94 anti-Semitic assaults reported in the first six months of 2004 compared to 47 in 2003). France has the third largest Jewish population in the world (about 600,000 people). Sharon observed that an “unfettered anti-Semitism” reigned in France. The French government responded by describing his comments as “unacceptable”, as did the French representative Jewish organization CRIF, which denied Sharon’s claim of intense anti-Semitism in French society. An Israeli spokesperson later claimed that Sharon had been misunderstood. France then postponed a visit by Sharon. Upon his visit, both Sharon and French President Jacques Chirac were described as showing a willingness to put the issue behind them.

Unilateral disengagement[edit]

In May 2003, Sharon endorsed the Road Map for Peace put forth by the United States,European Union, and Russia, which opened a dialogue with Mahmud Abbas, and announced his commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state in the future.

He embarked on a course of unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, while maintaining control of its coastline and airspace. Sharon’s plan was welcomed by both the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s left wing as a step towards a final peace settlement.[citation needed] However, it was greeted with opposition from within his own Likud party and from other right wing Israelis, on national security, military, and religious grounds.

Disengagement from Gaza[edit]

On 1 December 2004, Sharon dismissed five ministers from the Shinui party for voting against the government’s 2005 budget. In January 2005 Sharon formed a national unity government that included representatives of Likud, Labor, and Meimad and Degel HaTorah as “out-of-government” supporters without any seats in the government (United Torah Judaism parties usually reject having ministerial offices as a policy). Between 16 and 30 August 2005, Sharon controversially expelled 9,480 Jewish settlers from 21 settlements in Gaza and four settlements in the northern West Bank. Once it became clear that the evictions were definitely going ahead a group of conservative Rabbis, led by Yosef Dayan, placed an ancient curse on him known as the Pulsa diNura, calling on the Angel of Death to intervene and kill him. After Israeli soldiers bulldozed every settlement structure except for several former synagogues, Israeli soldiers formally left Gaza on 11 September 2005 and closed the border fence at Kissufim. While his decision to withdraw from Gaza sparked bitter protests from members of the Likud party and the settler movement, opinion polls showed that it was a popular move among most of the Israeli electorate with more than 80% of Israelis backing the plans.[44] On 27 September 2005, Sharon narrowly defeated a leadership challenge by a 52–48 percent vote. The move was initiated within the central committee of the governing Likud party by Sharon’s main rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had left the cabinet to protest Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza. The measure was an attempt by Netanyahu to call an early primary in November 2005 to choose the party’s leader.

Founding of Kadima[edit]

On 21 November 2005, Sharon resigned as head of Likud, and dissolved parliament to form a new centrist party called Kadima (“Forward”). November polls indicated that Sharon was likely to be returned to the prime ministership. On 20 December 2005, Sharon’s longtime rival Benjamin Netanyahu was elected his successor as leader of Likud.[45] Following Sharon’s incapacitation, Ehud Olmert replaced Sharon as Kadima’s leader, for the nearing general elections. Likud along with Labor Party were Kadima’s chief rivals in the March 2006 elections.

His stroke occurred a few months before he had been expected to win a new election and was widely interpreted as planning on “clearing Israel out of most of the West Bank”, in a series of unilateral withdrawals.[46][47][48]

In the elections, which saw Israel’s lowest-ever voter turnout of 64%[49] (the number usually averages on the high 70%), Kadima, headed by Olmert, received the most Knesset seats, followed by Labor. The new governing coalition installed in May 2006 included Kadima, with Olmert as Prime Minister, Labor (including Peretz as Defense Minister), the Gil (Pensioner’s) Party, the Shas religious party, andIsrael Beytenu.

Alleged fundraising irregularities and Greek island affair[edit]

During the latter part of his career Sharon was investigated for alleged involvement in a number of financial scandals, in particular, theGreek Island Affair and irregularities of fundraising during 1999 election campaign. In the Greek Island Affair, Sharon was accused of promising (during his term as Foreign Minister) to help an Israeli businessman David Appel in his development project on a Greek island in exchange for large consultancy payments to Sharon’s son Gilad. The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence. In the 1999 election fundraising scandal, Sharon was not charged with any wrongdoing, but his son Omri, a Knesset member at the time, was charged and sentenced in 2006 to nine months in prison.

To avoid a potential conflict of interest in relation to these investigations, Sharon was not involved in the confirmation of the appointment of a new Attorney General Menahem Mazuz in 2005.

On 10 December 2005 Israeli police raided Martin Schlaff‘s apartment in Jerusalem. Another suspect in the case was Robert Nowikovsky, an Austrian involved in Russian state-owned company Gazprom‘s business activities in Europe.[50][51][52][53]

According to Haaretz, “The $3 million that parachuted into Gilad and Omri Sharon’s bank account toward the end of 2002 was transferred there in the context of a consultancy contract for development of kolkhozes (collective farms) in Russia. Gilad Sharon was brought into the campaign to make the wilderness bloom in Russia by Getex, a large Russian-based exporter of seeds (peas, millet, wheat) from Eastern Europe. Getex also has ties with Israeli firms involved in exporting wheat from Ukraine, for example. The company owns farms in Eastern Europe and is considered large and prominent in its field. It has its Vienna offices in the same building as Jurimex, which was behind the $1-million guarantee to the Yisrael Beiteinu party.”[54]

On 17 December, police announced that they had found evidence of a $3 million bribe paid to Sharon’s sons. Shortly after the announcement, Sharon suffered a stroke.[50]

Health[edit]

“I love life. I love all of it, and in fact I love food.”
—Ariel Sharon, 1982[1]

Since the 1980s, Sharon had suffered from obesity, and suspected chronic high blood pressure and high cholesterol—he was reputed to be 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall and to weigh 115 kg (250 lb).[55] His staff car would reportedly be stocked with snacks, vodka and caviar.[1] Stories of Ariel Sharon’s appetite and obesity were legendary in Israel. He would often joke about his love of food and expansive girth.[56] He was a daily consumer of cigars and luxury foods. Numerous attempts by doctors, friends and staff to impose a balanced diet on Sharon were without avail.[57]

Stroke and incapacitation[edit]

On 18 December 2005, Sharon suffered a mild stroke heading in a convoy to Havat Shikmim, his ranch in the Negev. An analysis of hisMRI showed that Sharon was suffering from cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), a disease that weakens the blood vessels in the brain and increases the risk of hemorrhage. He suffered specifically from a relatively unusual type called a paradoxical embolism, in which a clot from the venous circulation crosses over into the arterial circulation through a congenital hole in the heart and goes to the brain, causing a transient speech and motor disturbance.[58] To prevent another clot from forming, Sharon was treated with enoxaparin.[59]This treatment received criticism because anticoagulation therapy increases the risk of brain hemorrhage, particularly given his diagnosis of CAA.[59][60] Although Sharon wanted to leave after just one day, he was released from the hospital after two days, at the hospital’s insistence.

He continued to take daily shots of enoxaparin, and a cardiac catheterization procedure to repair the hole in his heart was scheduled for 5 January 2006.[59] However, on the evening before, Sharon suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage at Havat Shikmim. His family awaited the arrival of one of Sharon’s personal physicians, Shlomo Segev, from his home in Tel Aviv. Half an hour later, after Sharon collapsed again, the attending paramedic ordered emergency medical evacuation, but it took twenty minutes to get him into the ambulance. Segev arrived at the scene just as the ambulance was leaving.[59] Instead of being taken to the nearby Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, the ambulance headed for Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem – almost an hour’s drive away.[59][61]Although a staff member had suggested during the evacuation airlifting Sharon to hospital by helicopter, Segev feared that transferring him to a helicopter would worsen his condition.[62] After a seven-hour operation that successfully stopped the bleeding in Sharon’s brain, Sharon was placed in the neurological intensive care unit and on a ventilator. He subsequently underwent an operation lasting 14 hours.[63][64][65] Sharon remained in an induced coma to relieve intracranial pressure.[66]

On 6 January, Sharon underwent a five-hour operation to halt bleeding in his brain, following which Sharon was returned to the neurological intensive care unit.[67] His sons ignored doctors’ recommendations to allow their father to die in peace given the poor prognosis.[68][69] On 13 January, doctors began weaning Sharon off sedatives to wake him and assess the damage to his brain, but Sharon failed to awaken after the sedatives were stopped.[70] In January and February, Sharon underwent further medical procedures.[71][72][73]

Replacement by Ehud Olmert[edit]

The night of Sharon’s second stroke, following consultations between Government Secretary Israel Maimon and Attorney-GeneralMenachem Mazuz, Sharon was declared “temporarily incapable of discharging his powers.” Sharon’s deputy, Ehud Olmert, the Deputy Prime Minister, was officially confirmed as Acting Prime Minister. Olmert and the Cabinet announced that legislative elections would take place on 28 March as scheduled. According to Israeli law, an acting prime minister can perform the duties of prime minister for up to 100 days after the latter had become incapacitated, after which the Israeli President must appoint a new Prime Minister. At the time of his stroke, Sharon’s Kadima enjoyed support from the general public in Israel, but this was to change dramatically in the next few years.[74] Although Sharon was was not a candidate due to his health, the Kadima party founded by Sharon won plurality in theKnesset elections on 28 March 2006.

On 6 April, President of Israel Moshe Katsav formally asked Ehud Olmert, as Prime Minister-designate, to form a government within 28 days.[75] On 11 April 2006, the Israeli Cabinet deemed that Sharon was incapacitated. Although Sharon’s replacement was to be named within 100 days of his becoming incapacitated, the replacement deadline was extended due to Passover.[76] A provision was made that, should Sharon’s condition improve between 11 and 14 April, the declaration would not take effect. Therefore, Olmert succeeded Sharon officially on 14 April.

Subsequent care[edit]

On 28 May 2006, Sharon was transferred from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to a long-term care unit at Sheba Medical Center, a large civilian and military hospital in Tel HaShomer near Ramat Gan. Medical experts indicated that his cognitive abilities were destroyed by the stroke, and that he was in a persistent vegetative state with slim chances of regaining consciousness.[77][78][79] On 12 November 2010 Ariel Sharon was moved from the long-term care facility to his home in Havat Shikmim.[80][81] His condition again worsened from late 2013, and Sharon suffered from renal failure on 1 January 2014.[82][83]

Recognition[edit]

In 2005, he was voted the 8th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.[84]

A$250 million park named for him is under construction outside Tel Aviv. When complete, the Ariel Sharon Park will be three times the size of New York’s Central Park and introduce many new ecological technologies. A 50,000-seat amphitheatre is also planned as a national concert venue.[85][86]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b c d “Israel’s Man of War”, Michael Kramer, New York, pages 19–24, 9 August 1982
  2. Jump up to:a b Schiff, Ze’ev; Ehud Ya’ari (1984). Israel’s Lebanon War.Simon and Schuster. pp. 283–284. ISBN 0-671-47991-1.
  3. Jump up^ Scientists say comatose former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon shows ‘robust’ brain activity
  4. Jump up^ Rees, Matt (22 October 2011). “Ariel Sharon’s fascinating appetite”Salon.
  5. Jump up^ ‘Sharon was about to leave two-thirds of the West Bank’ The Times of Israel, By Elhanan Miller, 19 February 2013
  6. Jump up^ Flashpoints in the War on Terrorism, By Derek S. Reveron, Jeffrey Stevenson Murer, Routledge 2013, page 9
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  9. Jump up^ A History of Modern Israel, by Colin Shindler, Cambridge University Press, 31 Mar 2013, page 168
  10. Jump up^ Benny Morris (1993). Israel’s Border Wars, 1949–1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez WarOxford University Press. pp. 251–253. ISBN 0-19-829262-7.
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  14. Jump up^ Varble, Derek, The Suez Crisis 1956, Osprey: London 2003 page 90
  15. Jump up to:a b c Varble, Derek, The Suez Crisis 1956, Osprey: London 2003 page 32
  16. Jump up^ Varble, Derek, The Suez Crisis 1956, Osprey: London 2003 page 33
  17. Jump up^ Ariel Sharon, with David Chanoff; Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon, Simon & Schuster, 2001, pages 190–191.
  18. Jump up^ Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, by Eyal Weizman, Verso 2012, page 76
  19. Jump up^ “Israel’s generals: Ariel Sharon”. UK: BBC Four. 17 June 2004. Archived from the original on 25 May 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2006.
  20. Jump up^ Ariel Sharon by Uri Dan
  21. Jump up^ Dr. George W. Gawrych The Alabatross of Decisive Victory: The 1973 Arab-Israeli War p.72
  22. Jump up^ The Yom Kippur War 1973 (2): The Sinai, By Simon Dunstan, Osprey Publishing, 20 April 2003
  23. Jump up^ “Sharon mourns slain son”The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 February 2005. Retrieved 15 April 2006.
  24. Jump up^ Brockes, Emma (7 November 2001). “The Bulldozer”The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 April 2006.
  25. Jump up^ “The Quest for Peace” (transcript). CNN. 14 June 2003.Archived from the original on 16 February 2006. Retrieved 28 March 2006.
  26. Jump up^ Agence France Presse, 15 November 1998
  27. Jump up^ “Sharon victory: An Arab nightmare”. BBC News. 6 February 2001.
  28. Jump up^ Robert Maroun Hatem, From Israel to Damascus, Chapter 7: “The Massacres at Sabra and Shatilla” online. Retrieved 24 February 2006.
  29. Jump up^ “Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the events at the refugee camps in Beirut — 8 February 1983”. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 8 February 1983. Retrieved 15 April 2006.
  30. Jump up^ “Knesset 9-11”. Gov.il. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  31. Jump up^ Smith, William E.; Reported by Harry Kelly and Robert Slater (21 February 1983). “The Verdict Is Guilty: An Israeli commission and the Beirut massacre”Time 121 (8).ISSN 0040-781XArchived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  32. Jump up^ Sharon Loses Libel Suit; Time Cleared of Malice by Brooke W. Kroeger.
  33. Jump up^ “The Complaint Against Ariel Sharon for his involvement in the massacres at Sabra and Shatila”. The Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding. Archived from the original on 4 April 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2006.
  34. Jump up^ Trevor Mostyn (25 January 2002). “Obituary: Elie Hobeika – Lebanese militia leader who massacred civilians”The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  35. Jump up^ (French) “Cour de cassation de Belgique” (PDF). La faculté de Droit de Namur. 12 February 2003.
  36. Jump up^ Ariel Sharon, with David Chanoff; Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon, Simon & Schuster, 2001, page 543.
  37. Jump up^ Khaled Abu Toameh (19 September 2002). “How the war began”.
  38. Jump up^ Charles Krauthammer (20 May 2001). “Middle East Troubles”. Townhall.com.
  39. Jump up^ Mitchell G. Bard. “Myths & Facts Online: The Palestinian Uprisings”. Jewish Virtual Library.
  40. Jump up^ Stewart Ain (20 December 2000). “PA: Intifada Was Planned”. The Jewish Week.
  41. Jump up^ “The Mitchell Report”. Jewish Virtual Library. 4 May 2001.
  42. Jump up^ (Hebrew) “מדד השלום” (PDF). The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research. May 2004.
  43. Jump up^ “India and Israel vow to fight terrorism”, BBC News, 9 September, 2003
  44. Jump up^ “Sharon party agrees coalition plan — 9 December 2004”. CNN. 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  45. Jump up^ Urquhart, Conal (20 December 2005). “Sharon recovers as chief rival wins control of Likud”The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  46. Jump up^ Rees, Matt (22 October 2011). “Ariel Sharon’s fascinating appetite”Salon.
  47. Jump up^ ‘Sharon was about to leave two-thirds of the West Bank’ The Times of Israel, By Elhanan Miller, 19 February 2013
  48. Jump up^ Flashpoints in the War on Terrorism, By Derek S. Reveron, Jeffrey Stevenson Murer, Routledge 2013, page 9
  49. Jump up^ “Elections for the Local Authority — Who, What, When, Where and How? — The Israel Democracy Institute”. Idi.org.il. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  50. Jump up to:a b “Austrian tycoon may face Israel charges: report”. Agence France-Presse. 7 September 2010.
  51. Jump up^ Hillel Fendel.“Police Say There’s Evidence Linking Sharon to $3 Million Bribe” Arutz Sheva, 3 January 2006
  52. Jump up^ A tale of gazoviki, money and greedStern, 13 September 2007
  53. Jump up^ Police have evidence Sharon’s family takes bribes: TV, Xinhua
  54. Jump up^ “The Schlaff Saga / Money flows into the Sharon family accounts”Haaretz. 22 December 2010.
  55. Jump up^ Jim Hollander (26 December 2005). “Ariel Sharon to undergo heart procedure”USA Today. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  56. Jump up^ Sharon’s diet becoming a weighty matter Associated Press, by Ravi Nessman, Jerusalem, 22 December 2005
  57. Jump up^ Ariel Sharon: A Life in Times of Turmoil, Freddy Eytan, Robert Davies, 2006, page 146
  58. Jump up^ Mark Willacy, Israeli PM Sharon moves left sideABC News, 10 January 2006.
  59. Jump up to:a b c d e “Ariel Sharon — Stroke Drama”. Ariel-sharon-life-story.com. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  60. Jump up^ Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer (5 January 2006).“Sharon felled by medicine side effect / Rare consequence of blood-thinner to prevent new stroke”San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  61. Jump up^ “Israeli PM suffers serious stroke”. BBC News. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  62. Jump up^ “Why wasn’t Sharon airlifted to hospital?”Ynetnews. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  63. Jump up^ Wilson, Scott (5 January 2006). “Prime Minister Sharon in ‘Induced Coma'”The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  64. Jump up^ “Surgery over; Sharon clings to life”Ynetnews. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  65. Jump up^ Simon Jeffery. Sharon’s condition critical after surgeryThe Guardian , 5 January 2006.
  66. Jump up^ “Doctors prolong Sharon sedation”. BBC News. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  67. Jump up^ King, Laura (7 January 2006). “Sharon Undergoes Third Surgery”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  68. Jump up^ Bronner, Ethan (20 October 2011). “6 Years After Stroke, Sharon Still Responsive, Son Says”The New York Times.
  69. Jump up^ Sharon: The Life of a Leader – Gilad Sharon. Harper (October 2011). ISBN 0061721506
  70. Jump up^ “Sharon fails to come out of coma”USA Today. 13 January 2006.
  71. Jump up^ Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, PM ‘stable’ after emergency surgery,The Jerusalem Post, 11 February 2006.
  72. Jump up^ “Sharon’s Surgeries”. Fox News Channel. 11 February 2006. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  73. Jump up^ Comatose Sharon has stomach drainedCNN, 23 February 2006.
  74. Jump up^ Marcus, Jonathan (5 January 2006). “Can Kadima survive without Sharon?”. BBC News. Retrieved 28 March 2006.
  75. Jump up^ Eldar, Akiva (6 April 2006). “Katsav invites Olmert to form next government”HaaretzArchived from the original on 9 April 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2006.
  76. Jump up^ Hasson, Nir (6 April 2006). “Cabinet approves appointment of Ehud Olmert as interim PM”. Ha’aretz.
  77. Jump up^ “Ariel Sharon’s sons to disconnect their father from life-support system”. Pravda.Ru. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  78. Jump up^ “Sharon will never recover: doctors”The Age (Melbourne). 6 January 2010.
  79. Jump up^ “Ariel Sharon transferred to long-term treatment in Tel HaShomer”Haaretz. 28 May 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2006.
  80. Jump up^ Ya, Chana (14 November 2010). “PM Ariel Sharon Visits His Home”. Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  81. Jump up^ “Ariel Sharon returns home”. Ynetnews. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
  82. Jump up^ “Ariel Sharon’s Condition Deteriorates”The Times of Israel. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  83. Jump up^ “Doctors: End for Sharon Could Come ‘Within Hours'”. Arutz Sheva. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  84. Jump up^ גיא בניוביץ’ (20 June 1995). “הישראלי מספר 1: יצחק רבין – תרבות ובידור”Ynet. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  85. Jump up^ Ariel Sharon Park transforms ‘eyesore’ into ‘paradise’Jerusalem Post By SHARON UDASIN, 16 May 2011
  86. Jump up^ “Former wasteland, future ecological wonderland Ariel Sharon Park to be bigger than NYC’s Central Park”, by Achshav Staff 20 July 2011

Further reading[edit]

  • Ben Shaul, Moshe (editor); Generals of Israel, Tel-Aviv: Hadar Publishing House, Ltd., 1968.
  • Uri Dan; Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait, Palgrave Macmillan, October 2006, 320 pages. ISBN 1-4039-7790-9.
  • Ariel Sharon, with David Chanoff; Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon, Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-671-60555-0.
  • Gilad Sharon, (translated by Mitch Ginsburg); Sharon: The Life of a Leader, HarperCollins Publishers, 2011, ISBN 978-0-06-172150-2.
  • Nir Hefez, Gadi Bloom, (translated by Mitch Ginsburg); Ariel Sharon: A Life, Random House, October 2006, 512 pages, ISBN 1-4000-6587-9.
  • Freddy Eytan, (translated by Robert Davies); Ariel Sharon: A Life in Times of Turmoil, translation of Sharon: le bras de fer, Studio 8 Books and Music, 2006, ISBN 1-55207-092-1.
  • Abraham Rabinovich; The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8052-1124-5.
  • Ariel Sharon, official biography, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Varble, Derek (2003). The Suez Crisis 1956. London: Osprey. ISBN 9781841764184.
  • Tzvi T. Avisar; Sharon: Five years forward, Publisher House, March 2011, 259 pages, Official websiteISBN 978-965-91748-0-5.

External links[edit]

Find more about Ariel Sharon at Wikipedia’ssister projects
Definitions and translations from Wiktionary
Media from Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Learning resources from Wikiversity
Political offices
Preceded by
Ehud Barak
Prime Minister of Israel
2001–2006
Succeeded by
Ehud Olmert
Party political offices
Preceded by
Benjamin Netanyahu
Chairman of Likud
1999–2005
Succeeded by
Benjamin Netanyahu
New title

Party founded
Chairman of Kadima
2005–2006
Succeeded by
Ehud Olmert
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10-Eye-Opening Quotes From Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger

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Margaret Sanger has been lauded by some as a woman of valor, but a closer look reveals that Planned Parenthood’s audacious founder had some unsavory things to say about matters of race, birth control, and abortion. An outspoken eugenicist herself, Sanger consistently promoted racist ideals with a contemptuous attitude. Read on to learn why Planned Parenthood hides behind a false memory of Sanger, and why, despite her extraordinarily prolific writing career, one rarely sees her quoted by Planned Parenthood leaders and apologists.

The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger

Woman and the New Race, ch. 6: “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families.” Here, Sanger argues that, because the conditions of large families tend to involve poverty and illness, it is better for everyone involved if a child’s life is snuffed out before he or she has a chance to pose difficulties to its family.

[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.

Plan for Peace” from Birth Control Review (April 1932, pp. 107-108)

Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code shall be to provide for a better distribution of babies… and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.
Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit…
Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.

“America Needs a Code for Babies,” 27 Mar 1934

Give dysgenic groups [people with “bad genes”] in our population their choice of segregation or [compulsory] sterilization.

April 1932 Birth Control Review, pg. 108

Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.

Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’sWoman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

A woman’s duty: To look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in the eyes… to speak and act in defiance of convention.

The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1

[The most penetrating thinkers] are coming to see that a qualitative factor as opposed to a quantitative one is of primary importance in dealing with the great masses of humanity.

CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!

Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Here, Margaret Sanger speaks on her eugenic philosophy – that only the types of “quality” people she and her peers viewed as worthy of life should be allowed to live.

Such parents swell the pathetic ranks of the unemployed. Feeble-mindedness perpetuates itself from the ranks of those who are blandly indifferent to their racial responsibilities. And it is largely this type of humanity we are now drawing upon to populate our world for the generations to come. In this orgy of multiplying and replenishing the earth, this type is pari passu multiplying and perpetuating those direst evils in which we must, if civilization is to survive, extirpate by the very roots.

The Need for Birth Control in America (quoted by Angela Franks.)

Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.

“Family Limitation,” eighth edition revised, 1918