Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Ariel Sharon – Hallowed Warrior Leaves Complicated Political Legacy (OBITUARY)

January 12, 2014 8:12 am 0 comments

Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger meets with Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon of Israel in his office in the Pentagon. Photo: Pentagon.

A wise man once said it is difficult to predict the future but harder still to predict the past. Such is the case with Ariel Sharon. Even eight years in a comatose state wasn’t enough time to define his niche in history.

Perhaps not for Hamas and terrorists in Lebanon: They and their supporters labeled Sharon as a baby-devouring, mass murdering, war criminal devil when he was alive; use your imagination as to what their talking heads spouted on Hezbollah’s Al Manar satellite TV or Al Jazeera when word came of his death.

For Israelis however, Arik Sharon’s legacy is complicated, very complicated.

The left never forgave then Defense Minister Sharon for enmeshing Israel into a quagmire in Lebanon in 1982, that while succeeding in routing Arafat’s PLO, also saw the internecine Arab Sabra/Shatilla massacre on his watch which led to Sharon’s resignation as Defense Minister.

Throughout his tumultuous life, when he felt he could make the decisive difference, Sharon, come hell or high water, took decisive action.

The right loved Arik Sharon, dubbing him the “bulldozer for good” for helping to establish Jewish communities from the Golan Heights, to the West Bank, greater Jerusalem and Gaza. They helped build the constituency that would catapult him to prime minister.

Later, his sudden 180 degree move to unilaterally hand over the Gaza Strip to Palestinians, forcing 9,000 Israelis to evacuate their homes, turned Israeli politics on it head.

His loyal supporters were left utterly bewildered and betrayed.

But as with much else in Israel, there is little that is totally black and white. Former MP, Yaakov (Ketzela) Katz, a founder and leader of the Settlement Movement said this in an interview with The Jewish Press:

” I hate what Sharon did but he saved my life and I love him.”

Katz meant it literally. Mortally wounded during the bitter Yom Kippur War, medics left him to die to tend to lesser-wounded comrades. That was until his commanding officer—Arik Sharon intervened, calling in a helicopter to evacuate the young soldier under withering Egyptian fire…

So how to judge such a man?

I think the biblical narrative in the book of Exodus provides some guidance.

When Moses sees an Egyptian taskmaster about to whip a Hebrew slave, the narrative reports that Moses “…looked this way and that way and saw there was no man…” and slew the Egyptian.

Some Jewish commentators don’t interpret those words literally but rather that Moses saw no one else had the guts to intervene. The verse is saying:

“Where there is no man — strive to be a man!”

That was Ariel (Arik) Sharon’s M.O.

Throughout his tumultuous life, when he felt he could make the decisive difference, Sharon, come hell or high water, took decisive action.

Sharon’s courage and daring literally transformed history during the epic 1973 Yom Kippur War, when a stunned Israel was initially caught by surprise by a two-prong Egypt/Syria attack on its holiest day.

After indecisive battles and heavy losses, the pivotal moment in the epic war came when Commander Sharon seized the initiative and led his troops across the Suez Canal.

With Cairo itself suddenly looking vulnerable, the Arabs began to understand that they could never defeat Israel militarily.

Sharon did not wait for approval from the chain of command. He was convinced it was the right thing to do and personally led his troops into battle.

He won big that day and changed the course of history, helping to pave the way for the historic peace mission Sadat made to Israel in 1977, and the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty in 1979.

Later, as Prime Minister, in 2004-05, Sharon ordered the wrenching Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

He did so because he believed it would help bring peace.

In the short run, he was dead wrong.

It is hard to see what benefits came from Sharon’s draconian Gaza gambit wherein Gaza was delivered on a peace platter to the Palestinians and all the Israelis got in return were thousands of Hamas rockets that continue til this day.

Sharon’s stroke never gave him the opportunity to react to the devastating results of his decision but one thing is clear: The warrior-politician would have taken responsibility for his actions.

And perhaps he would point to one unintended but instructive consequence of the disengagement: The unilateral evacuation of 9,000 Israelis and the no-strings attached gifting of territory to the Palestinians lay bare a brutal truth for all Israelis, left, right, and center — that no matter how the EU diplomats and Secretary of State Kerry try to spin it, Gaza is living proof that too many Palestinians, starting but not ending with Hamas, are unprepared to accept a Jewish State as their neighbor.

Ariel Sharon was no Moses. But to defend his beloved country, he never hesitated to put his personal security, reputation and very life on the line, time and again, when others couldn’t or wouldn’t act.

The “bulldozer” was never deterred by failure nor slowed by triumph.

In 1973, his heroic chutzpah helped save Israel. His Gaza gambit ten years ago failed to advance peace and tarnished his reputation. It seems then that even in death, Ariel Sharon will remain the man they love to hate — and love — for a long time to come.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Follow the Simon Wiesenthal Center onFacebook and on Twitter.

This article was originally published by FOX News.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Food Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    A Chabad rabbi from Rhinebeck, NY, will face off a priest, a pastor and a nun-in-training in an upcoming episode of the Food Network‘s reality show, “Chopped,” Lubavitch.com reported. Rabbi Hanoch Hecht – who teaches up-and-coming chefs about the intricacies of kosher dietary laws at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — was nominated for the show by a professional chef, and went through a rigorous interview process at the Food Network’s studios in Chelsea, NY. Months later, he was informed he had been accepted as a contestant in the popular TV cooking competition. “I thought […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief (BOOK REVIEW)

    Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief by Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander H. Joffe (Palgrave Macmillan; 2013) Although this book came out several years ago, it remains pertinent. This is a meticulously researched book that concentrates on a very small bit of history: the time period from 1948-50 when the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, was organizing refugee relief in Gaza. Before UNRWA, the UN created the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees (UNRPR). It outsourced […]

    Read more →