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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid