News / Middle East

Dignitaries Praise Ariel Sharon at Funeral

The convoy with the body of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's arrives at the grave site where his second wife Lily is buried, on Jan. 13, 2014 at the family ranch Havat Shikmin, near the Israeli city of Sderot in the southern Negev desert.
The convoy with the body of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's arrives at the grave site where his second wife Lily is buried, on Jan. 13, 2014 at the family ranch Havat Shikmin, near the Israeli city of Sderot in the southern Negev desert.
Scott Bobb
Israel's former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been buried at his home in the Negev before family, friends and a delegation of visiting dignitaries, following civilian and military services.

He was praised earlier in the day during a memorial service at the Knesset - the Israeli parliament - by Israeli and foreign dignitaries.

Israel's president, Shimon Peres, called him an exceptional soldier who knew how to win.
 
Peres said rest, great leader, who did not allow himself to rest when serving his people, defending his country and making its fields blossom.
 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said although he and Sharon did not always agree when in government together they cooperated for the security and economy of the country.
 
He added that Sharon was a practical and pragmatic man whose pragmatism was full of deep feelings for his country and the Jewish people.

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks near the flag draped coffin of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during a memorial ceremony at Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Members of the Knesset guard carry the flag draped coffin of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as his family members walk behind during a memorial ceremony at Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Israel's President Shimon Peres carries a wreath to place next to the coffin of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Israeli Parliament, Jerusalem, Jan. 12, 2014. 
  • Israelis pass by the coffin of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Knesset Plaza, Jerusalem, Jan. 12, 2014. 
  • Members of the Knesset Guard carry the coffin of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Knesset Plaza, Jerusalem, Jan. 12, 2014. 
  • A worker prepares the grave for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his ranch, Havat Shikmim, in the northern Negev Desert, southern Israel, Jan. 12, 2014. 
  • Members of the Knesset Guard stand near the coffin of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at  Knesset Plaza, Jerusalem, Jan. 12, 2014. 
  • Israelis pay their last respects as they stand near the coffin of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Knesset, Jerusalem, Jan. 12, 2014. 

 Sharon died Saturday at the age of 85. He had been in a coma for eight years after suffering a stroke while prime minister.
 
FILE - Ariel Sharon, Israel's then-Prime Minister-elect, touches Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2001.FILE - Ariel Sharon, Israel's then-Prime Minister-elect, touches Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2001.
x
FILE - Ariel Sharon, Israel's then-Prime Minister-elect, touches Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2001.
FILE - Ariel Sharon, Israel's then-Prime Minister-elect, touches Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2001.
A veteran of four Arab-Israeli wars from 1948 to 1973, he was an independent commander who entered politics after his military career ended.
 
He was revered by some Israelis and criticized by others. He was generally condemned by Palestinians for his tough military tactics and offensives in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed.
 
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said like all real leaders Sharon had a north star that guided him.
 
"His north star was the survival of the state of Israel and the Jewish people wherever they resided," he said.
 
Ariel Sharon

  • Born in 1928 in farming community north of Tel Aviv
  • Joined underground Jewish military organization Haganah in 1942
  • Fought as platoon commander in Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49
  • Led Commando Unit 101 that carries out reprisal raids in 1953
  • Led paratroopers in the 1956 Suez War
  • Elected member of parliament in 1973
  • Served as security advisor to then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin
  • Appointed defense minister in 1981
  • Led Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, resigns after being found responsible for failing to prevent massacres in Palestinian refugee camps
  • Appointed minister of housing and construction in 1990
  • Appointed foreign minister in 1997
  • Elected prime minister in 2001, one year after controversial visit to the Temple Mount
  • Directed the withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005
  • Established the Kadima party in 2005, new elections set for March 2006
  • Has been in a coma since a massive stroke on Jan. 4, 2006
Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed, saying Sharon never wavered from this strategic objective.
 
"The state which from the age of 14 he fought to bring into being had to be protected for future generations. When that meant fighting, he fought. When that meant making peace, he sought peace. And the same iron determination he took to the field of war, he took to the chamber of diplomacy," said Blair.
 
Security was tightened in southern Israel prior to Sharon's burial at his ranch some 10 kilometers east of the Gaza Strip. The anti-rocket defense system, called Iron Dome, was deployed in the area amid reports of rocket firing.
 
Sharon, while prime minister in 2005, ordered an Israeli military operation in Gaza in which more than 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
 
He subsequently ordered the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza.
 
A long-time member of the conservative Likud party, he broke away to form the centrist Kadima party the same year. He called elections for March 2006 but suffered the stroke two months before they were held.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David Storrs from: australia
January 13, 2014 7:18 PM
you only have to look at the list of dignitaries at Ariel Sharon's funeral compared to Nelson Mandela's memorial to see we do lndeed value peacemakers more.Some people in Israel bemoan the American president being there but I personally noticed where Richard Branson,Oprah Winfrey and U2's Bono were keen to be

by: JR from: BR
January 13, 2014 6:35 PM
Now he will know if he is rigth or not to kill so many Palestinians, for him is the great moment, all the cards are on the table. Good lucky for him, I think he will need.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs