Friday, January 06, 2006

Sharon Melekh Israel


With Shabbat coming in soon, there is one thing, and only one, in my mind right now. Our prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is fighting for his life. Whether he lives or not, this challenge will be last last one he will face as prime minister of our country. At this time of national pain, it is extemely important for me to repeat a statement I have said many times for the past few months and emphasise it’s truth in more details: Ariel Sharon is one of the greatest heros Am Israel has had in the past 100 years. Many people are starting to say this now, now that he is dying. However, I thought it would be extremely important for me to explain why I say this, as a person who isn’t just saying this because he is dying now, and also as a person who was completely opposed to his disengagement plan. While the disengement plan was taking place and people were praying for Sharon to die, I kept on saying: “He is our hero. He’s a hero making a big mistake, but he’s still a hero. One year of mistakes does not erase a lifetime of heroic acts”. I thought it would be important for me to give a small biography of this hero. Through the study of the lives of great Jewish Leaders, we can learn how we can become great Jewish Leaders, and since Ariel Sharon was a leader that symbolyzed the first generation of leaders in the new State of Israel, his unfortunate exit of the leadership scene calls on a new generation of leaders to step up. Here is a biography of the man we called, for a very long time, Sharon Melekh Israel.

(This biography was taken from http://ariel-sharon.biography.ms/ . I added my commentary is italics, which I think is extremely important. For full text go to the website.)

Ariel Sharon (
Hebrew: אריאל שרון), born February 27, 1928, is a long-serving Israeli political and military leader, and has been the current Prime Minister of Israel since March 2001, the eleventh holder of that office. As such, he was also leader of Likud, the largest party in the governing coalition of political parties in the Israeli Knesset (parliament). He was born Ariel Scheinermann, and is also often known by his nickname Arik.

Sharon is a controversial figure both inside and outside
Israel, attracting diverse and often polar views. Many Israelis and supporters of Israel regard Sharon as a strong leader battling terrorism. However, critics, particularly in the Arab world, refer to him as "the Butcher of Beirut" and have sought his prosecution as a war criminal. A number of Israelis and foreign observers believe that his recent efforts have been damaging to the peace process.

I heard once from a rabbi that the biggest tsaddikim are
always the most controversial. The GRA was not liked by the hassidim. The Baal
Shem Tov was not liked by the Mitnagdim. Rav Kook was disliked by the
ultra-orthodox. His theory was that until the mashiach, no leader will make
unanimous joy. Lehefech (on the contrary), the better the leader, the less the
unanimity. Ariel Sharon was at the same time the most leftist politician who
kicked out Jews from Gaza, and the most right wing who was involved in Sabra and
Shatilla. The controversy usually is a sign of a will to serve the country’s
best interest regardless of what people say. If he believed something was right,
he would do it. Of course, sometimes he made mistakes, but he always tried his
best.


Early years
Sharon was born Ariel Scheinermann in
1928 to a German-Polish father and Russian mother in Kfar Malal village located in the territory then known as British Mandate of Palestine.
In
1942, at the age of 14, he joined the Gadna, a paramilitary youth battalion, and later Haganah, the underground Zionist para-military force and the Jewish military precursor to the Israeli Defense Force. At the creation of Israel (which is why he represented Jewish Leadership ever since the creation of the state), Sharon was a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade. He was severely wounded in the Second Battle of Latrun but his injuries healed. In 1949, he was promoted to company commander and in 1951 to intelligence officer. He then took leave to begin studies of history and Middle Eastern culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A year and a half later, he was asked to return to active service in the rank of major and as the leader of the new Unit 101.
Unit 101 undertook a series of retaliatory raids against Palestinians and neighboring
Arab states that helped bolster Israeli morale and fortify its deterrent image.
Sharon has been married twice. Shortly after becoming a military instructor, he married his first wife, Margalith , with whom he had a son, Gur.
Margalith died in an auto accident in
1962 and Gur died in October 1967 after being shot while playing with his father's rifle. Upon Margalith’s death, Sharon married her younger sister, Lily . They had two sons, Omri and Gilead. Lily Sharon died in 2000.

Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War
In the meanwhile, he occupied the position of an infantry brigade commander and received a law degree from Tel Aviv University. When Yitzhak Rabin (who within a few years became associated with the Labor Party) became Chief of Staff in 1962, however, Sharon began again to rise rapidly in ranks, occupying the positions of Infantry School Commander and Head of Army Training Branch, eventually achieving the rank of Major General (Aluf). In the 1967 Six-Day War, Sharon commanded the most powerful armored division on the Sinai front which made a breakthrough in the Kusseima-Abu-Ageila fortified area. In 1969, he was appointed the Head of IDF's Southern Command.
Sharon' s military career was not over, however. At the start of the
Yom Kippur War on October 6, 1973, Sharon was called back to duty and assigned to command a reserve armored division. His forces did not engage the Egyptian army immediately but it was Sharon who helped locate a breach between the Egyptian forces which he then exploited in capturing a bridge-head on October 16, and throwing a bridge across the Suez Canal the following day. He violated his orders from the head of Southern Command by exploiting this success to cut the supply lines of the Egyptian Third Army, located to the south of the canal crossing, isolating it from other Egyptian units. The divisions of Sharon and Avraham Adan (Bren) passed over this bridge into Africa advancing to within 101 kilometers of Cairo. They wreaked havoc on the lines of supply of the Third Army stretching to the south of them, cutting off and encircling the Third Army, forcing it to surrender. Tensions between the two generals followed his decision, but a military tribunal later found his action was militarily effective. This move was regarded by many Israelis as the turning point of the war in the Sinai front, which forced the Egyptians to retreat from Sinai and negotiate a cease-fire. Thus, Sharon is viewed by some as a war hero who saved Israel from defeat in Sinai. A photo of Sharon wearing a head-bandage on the Suez Canal became a famous symbol of Israeli military prowess.

As I said before, he always does what he thinks is good, even if it
means sacrifying his own political and military future.

Political career
Sharon was a member of the
Knesset 1973-1974, and then from 1977 to the present. In 1975-1976, he served as the security adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He then served as Minister of Agriculture (1977-1981), and as Defense Minister (1981-1983) in Menachem Begin's Likud government.
During this period, Sharon supported the Gush Emunim settlements movement and was viewed as the patron of the messianic 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 the return of these territories to Palestinian Arabs. Sharon doubled the number of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Gaza Strip during his tenure.
After being dismissed from the Defense Minister post for his involvement in the
Sabra and Shatila massacre, Sharon remained in successive governments as a Minister without portfolio (1983-1984), Minister for Trade and Industry (1984-1990), and Minister for Housing Construction (1990-1992). In Benjamin Netanyahu's 1996-1999 government, he was Minister of National Infrastructure (1996-1998), and Foreign Minister (1998-1999). Upon the election of the Barak Labor government, Sharon became leader of the Likud party. After the collapse of Barak's government, he was elected Prime Minister in February 2001.

On
January 20, 2004, an Israeli court charged property developer David Appel with trying to bribe Sharon (through his son Gilad) while Sharon had served as Israel's National Infrastructure Minister in the 1990s. On June 14, 2004, Israel's Attorney General, Meni Mazouz, decided to close the case due to lack of evidence and prosecutorial misconduct.
In the same year, Sharon proposed
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004.
According to the Palestinians, Ariel Sharon has followed an aggressive policy of non-negotiation. Palestinians allege that the
al-Aqsa Intifada started because of a visit by Sharon and an escort of several hundred policemen to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount complex, site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. Sharon's visit came after archeologists claimed that extensive building operations at the site were destroying priceless antiquities. While visiting the site, 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. Israel denies this claim vehemently, claiming instead that the Al-Aqsa Intifada was engineered by Yasser Arafat as a leverage tool.

And we found proof for that since we know the intifada
started 2 days before his visit and plus, we found documents of Arafat’s
planning of the intifada.

Palestinians doubt the existence of popular support for Sharon's actions. Polls published in the media, as well as the 140% call-up of reservists (as opposed to the 60% in regular periods) seem to indicate that the Israeli public is quite supportive of Sharon's policies. A survey conducted by Tel Aviv University's Jaffe Center in May 2004 found that 80% of Jewish Israelis believe that the Israel Defense Forces have succeeded in militarily countering the Al-Aqsa Intifada, [6] indicating widespread faith in Sharon's hard-line policy.

On
20 July 2004, Sharon called on French Jews to emigrate to Israel immediately, in light of a purported 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 (about 600,000 people), after Israel and the United States. Sharon claimed that an "unfettered antisemitism" 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 antisemitism in French society. An Israeli spokesperson later claimed that Sharon had been misunderstood.

No, he hasn’t. The reality is being misunderstood. Plus, even without
anti-semetism Everyone should be coming to Israel now. Sharon’s main
disengagement plan envolved bringing people from out of Galut into Israel to
solve the demographic problem. Since he wasn’t being listened to, he had to
resolve to Plan B, the horrible destruction of the beautiful communities of
Gush
Katif (his greatest sin)

In late 2004, Rabbi Yossi Dayan threatened Sharon with a kabbalistic curse, the Pulsa diNura, over his disagreement with Sharon's plan for unilateral evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.

I’m happy the biography is ending with this idiotic act of cursin Ariel Sharon. And now, the most important conclusion:

With Sharon’s exit fo the political scene, we will need to decide where we will bring Am Israel for the next generation. Will we move on towards Mashiach like Sharon did for most of his life, or will we move towards destroying what we built, like he did in the end of his life. Will we work towards unity, or each try to get what is best for our community: the hareidim staying out of the army, the religious zionists living in “religious only” communities in the west bank and only caring about erets israel (while so many other values in Judaism are also important, even if Erets Israel is so important), the leftists only caring about looking good and giving everything the Palestinians ask. Or will we act as Am Israel and elect someone who will do what is best for the nation, will we work on loving each other or convincing each other that our ideology is right? How will learn from the first 56 years of Israel, the “Ariel Sharon Era”?

Also, How will we remember Ariel Sharon? Even though Sharon commited the greatest sin by going forward with the disengagement plan, he will always be a Jewish Hero to me. He is a leader that helped us get Jerusalem, and Gush Katif. The fact he destroyed Gush Katif does not change the fact he is still to me: “Sharon Melekh Israel”. During the time of the Hashmonaim, there were many evil kings, some who even killed all the talmidei chachamim in Israel, people much worse then Sharon. We still praise the hashmonaim for their good actions and the fact they brought sovereignty to Israel. Sharon helped bring sovereignty to Medinat Israel.

I’ll keep on praying for his good helth even after the horrible crime of the destruction of Gush Katif. I’ll pray for him because right now, from where I am sitting, I can see the beit hamikdash being slowly rebuilt, and its in big part thanks to Ariel Sharon.

Long Live the King.



5 comments:

Olah Ima said...

I just found your blog through the JIB nominations. I hope to come back and read more. Your post on Ariel Sharon is beautiful and, I think, makes points that I haven't seen elsewhere. Especially in these days as Ariel Sharon's life hangs in the balance, I feel it is important to remind ourselves and Hashem of the strengths, courage, and sacrifice of this leader of Israel. Kol haKavod to you on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Blog!!!

Anonymous said...

amazing text............you gave me to pray more and more for the refoua shelema of our leader
rahamim

Anonymous said...

It is tragic that it took a near death experience to remove this man from his position of leadership, but at least he is out. A hero, maybe, but only one mistake, clearly not. Putting aside his destruction of Yamit, living a life void of Torah can only bring tragedy on our people. Thousands of Jews are dead today because of men like sharon who play politics with Jewish lives. When America puts pressure on Israel, ISrael always capitulates. and the result is always the same. Pikuach nefesh is docheh et kol hatorah kulah, how much moreso American pressure. Anyone who values American interests more than Jewish lives, is a catastrophe of a leader. The tragedy of the state of Israel is, I can't recall having had a single good JEwish leader. We can only hope and pray for a better future. But we must work for it. Sharon on the whole is a winner, but him and people like him in leadership positions in Israel are bad for Jews and bad for the state.

Anonymous said...

lame

everyone dies, it doesn't necessitate whitewashing evil

seems to me like you will salute the olive green right up until the moment the automaton wearing it pulls the trigger.