Israelis’ Reactions to Ariel Sharon’s Death
TEL AVIV—Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died on Saturday after days in critical condition and after eight years in a coma.
Some Israeli’s remember him as a great leader, some blame him for war and suffering.
Dr. Avraham Mizrahi, a pediatrician living in Modiin, Israel:
Ariel Sharon is no more, he will be remembered as the soldier who played a crucial role in the Yom Kippur War, the energetic bulldozer statesman and politician who mastered the absorption of a million Russian Jews and also who decided—against all his political allies—to end the Gaza occupation. …
But at the same time, he was also the mastermind and the main drive behind the settlements—which are eternalizing … the occupation—and the tragic and traumatic First Lebanon War.
Yuval, a vendor in Rikoshet sport shop in northern Israel:
Arik Sharon died eight years ago. What happen yesterday had no significance for the state of Israel. No one knows if he suffered—if yes, I am sorry for him.
Hana Hazan, mother of a soldier in the First Lebanon War:
I never liked the personal cult surrounding Sharon. His behavior didn’t fit the Jewish spirit. I will never forgive him his responsibility in the catastrophic Lebanon war where so many people died.
Yoram Abecasiss, part of a kibbutz:
Concerning Sharon changing position, I think he realized that a Palestinian state was the interest of Israel a few years after he [had] acted violently against the idea. He was an aggressive and adventurous person.
Arik how much I dreamed to see you wake up and come to lead us again. I am sorry it didn’t happen and now it’s all over.
I always had a dream that one day you would wake up and, upon seeing the chaos that has taken over the country, you would immediately make order—but unfortunately, it did not happen. Mr. Prime Minister, I salute you!
Some will hate it and some will love it. But one thing can not be denied—he was a true leader and has done for the country far more than any of those ones who criticize him.
Ariel Sharon [was] a man who was proud of being a Jew. You were for me a model of determination, decisiveness, leadership, and love of Israel … which is important and essential to us as a people and as a nation these days.
There are no words to describe the pain and disappointment that you left our world. You were the leader of the entire nation and a hero …
Gilad Erdan, Israeli communication minister:
I worked a year as an adviser to Ariel Sharon in late 1995–1996. Those were difficult years for the country following the assassination of [then Prime-Minister Yitzhak] Rabin and suicide bombings.
I was exposed to Sharon’s qualities as a leader: calm, composure, decisiveness, and a sense of humor that characterized all his ways and actions. I felt the admiration that surrounded him wherever he went.
His knowledge and control over all the places in Israel was amazing. There was no town or village (including the Arab villages in Judea and Samaria) that he did not know. [He was like] a walking map.
Roni Bar On, former Finance Minister from Sharon’s Kadima party replied to the question from Israel’s Channel 2: “If Sharon were not in a coma for eight years, where could Israel be today?”
Perhaps we [the Kadima party] would have won 45 seats. If it had happened in 2006, we wouldn’t have to pay [such a] hard political price. We paid for several years because of the lack of governance, while several governments couldn’t finish their terms. Arik always warned us against despair after failure and euphoria after success.