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Ariel Sharon's Birthday, 1928

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

On This Day in Jewish History: February 26, 1928

On this day in 1928, Israel’s Eleventh Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was born. He was born as a child of Russian immigrants in the town of Kfar-Malal, pre-State Israel. Before Israeli statehood, his name was Ariel Scheinerman, but he changed it to sound more Hebraic in the early years of the nation’s establishment. Ariel Sharon earned many titles throughout his life and career, leading him to a position of power in Israel. He was a proud husband and father as well. Ariel Sharon’s life was dedicated to Israeli public service, which unilaterally made him a man of global service. At an early age, he was engaged and exposed to Israeli military and defense. Military service then led to legal studies followed by a transition to defense leadership and high-ranking appointments and elected government roles. Sharon was a fierce Zionist and patriot of Judaism and Israel, defending the nation from Palestinian terrorism during Arafat’s Intifada attacks. He was elected as Prime Minister in 2001 and his term consisted of detailed policy making for safety and security of Israelis during peak years of Palestinian attacks to Israel, with goals of also improving the lives of Palestinians as well as Israelis. Shortly after a series of strokes and then a massive brain hemorrhage in 2006, Sharon’s term as Prime Minister was transferred to Ehud Olmert for the sake of Sharon’s health and well being, concluding his life of public service. Sharon’s military life began early, joining an underground Zionist militia movement, the Hagana, when he was fourteen years old. Beginning in 1947 he became a solider in the Israeli Defense Forces, thus launching his professional military career. He quickly transitioned to being a junior officer in the battle of Latrun. While studying Middle Eastern history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his army career transitioned into being an intelligence officer. David Ben-Gurion described younger Ariel Sharon as being original and visionary, for the attacks he led against in defense of Israel when he led Unit 101. Unit 101 was a task force commando group that performed raids in neighboring Jordanian villages in response to Arab insurgences against Israel. Sharon led raids on Israel’s western side as well, against Egypt which at the time was occupying the Gaza Strip. His work defending Israel while crossing the Suez Canal during this time is considered by many as some of his most crucial and significant in its intelligence coordination. By the time of the Six-Day War, Sharon was a commander general leading one of the armed battalions. After battles with Egypt he attended Officer Training in the United Kingdom in 1957 and then returned to Tel Aviv to pursue law school. He graduated Hebrew University in 1966 with a law degree.In the early 1970’s Ariel Sharon resigned from the Israeli army (with the notable exception of returning for the Yom Kippur War) and took care of horses and livestock on a farming area of the Negev Desert for a brief time. The next chapter of Sharon’s life would be his political career that spanned multiple decades from 1973 to 2006. He was elected to the Knesset first, but left to take a position as Yitzhak Rabin’s Security Advisor. For a second time in 1977, he ran for the Knesset and was elected, joining the Herut political party. Menachim Begin appointed Sharon as Minister of Agriculture, a position he served in for four years and hoped to achieve agricultural collaboration with Egypt. His next post was an appointment to Defense Minister, where he oversaw operations in the Lebanon War. Due to controversy for his policy action regarding Palestinians, he resigned from this position in 1983 but remained a Minister in the government without specific agenda for two years, transitioning next to being Minister of Industry. A major accomplishment Ariel Sharon established in this role was free trade negotiation with the United States. During the 1990’s, Sharon served in the Knesset on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee which later transitioned again to a Minister appointment with National Infrastructure. By 1998 he was elected as Foreign Minister and oversaw permanent status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The Likud political party elected Sharon to be Chairman in 1999 after Benjamin Netanyahu resigned. In the early fall of 2000, Sharon made his famous visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where he emphasized its importance to Judaism and being a sovereign part of Israel. Arafat and Palestinians saw this as a threat and it was a major cause to what started their series of heinous, violent terrorist attacks against innocent Jews and Israelis during their “al-aqsa Intifada.” Ariel Sharon was elected as Prime Minister shortly after his Temple Mount visit, on February 6, 2001. After Israel was hit by multiple years by Palestinians, Sharon developed policy directed at strong security for the people of Israel while also simultaneously improving life for Palestinians. As Prime Minister he also oversaw the withdrawal of Israelis from the Gaza Strip which had long been disputed territory as well as territory that he himself had fought for. His political party, the Likud, did not approve of the disengagement of Gaza, so he formed a more moderate party, “Kadima.” In late 2005, Ariel Sharon’s weakening health was impairing his work. He had a couple minor strokes followed by brain hemorrhaging that hospitalized him in early 2006. He transferred the power of his office of Prime Minster to Ehud Olmert in January 2006. This unfortunate rapid toll on Ariel Sharon’s health ended his lifelong career in public service. From 2006 until his death in 2014, Ariel Sharon was in a coma and unresponsive. Sharon’s legacy is deep in love for the State of Israel, his home that he fought his entire life to serve and protect.

Sources:

Britannica Encyclopedia: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ariel-Sharon Jewish Virtual Library: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ariel-sharon NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/http://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/ariel-sharon-40195406 BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-25696814 Fathom Journal: https://fathomjournal.org/the-legacy-of-ariel-sharon-and-interview-with-david-landau/

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