MK Orit Struck apologized Sunday morning for expressing gratitude that God had stopped former prime minister Ariel Sharon from perpetuating further tragedies upon settlers.
Struck told Galey Yisrael radio host Kalman Liebskind that she was not sufficiently sensitive and had made her comments too early.
Later Sunday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich said he plans to investigate displays of happiness about Sharon’s death.
“This is despicable conduct and I will not ignore it,” Aharonovich stated. “I asked the police to investigate and take care of the issue quickly and professionally. I take such criminal behavior seriously.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Struck’s remarks are “disgusting incitement that embarrass the Knesset. This displays her lack of intelligence.
She isn’t reflecting what [Sharon] did, it shows she’s evil,” Livni told Army Radio, repeating the word “evil” several times.
Livni expressed concern about other right-wing extremists’ actions.
“Until [Struck] and her ilk were elected to the Knesset, we said people like her are just wild weeds,” Livni said.
“I expect most settler leaders to come to the memorial and treat Sharon with respect, despite their different political opinions.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on Facebook that Struck’s comments were “most grievous and should not have been said. I made that clear in a conversation with her and she sent out a correction and an apology,” Bennett explained in response to a post asking about the MK.
Baruch Marzel, an activist from Struck’s hometown of Hebron, said he’s “satisfied that a threat on the Land of Israel was removed.”
“Sharon was an enemy. He was one of the biggest traitors in Israel’s history,” Marzel told The Jerusalem Post.
Marzel is not planning any demonstrations for Monday, but said he may reconsider later in the week.
Hebron activist Noam Federman, who often works with Marzel, hopes to petition the High Court of Justice against Sharon’s burial at Anemone Hill near his Sycamore Ranch, because it is not an official burial site.
It is a criminal offense to bury someone outside of a government-designated burial ground. Federman previously petitioned against Sharon’s wife Lilly’s burial there in 2000. The court refused to discuss the petition, but wrote in its response that her burial was, indeed, illegal.
“It bothers me that the Sharon family does whatever it wants. They act like they’re a royal family or tyrants like Stalin or Mao Tse-tung,” Federman said. “Anemone Hill is full of protected flowers, but they want to bury him there. They shouldn’t be able to harm the environment.”
A sign was posted in the Torat Hayim Yeshiva, which was evacuated from Gaza in 2005 and moved to Yad Binyamin, congratulating Sharon’s sons and declaring that the yeshiva is happy he died, because he is a wicked man and a traitor. The source of the sign was unknown.
On Saturday night, Struck released a message that, “Sharon was one of the great builders of the Land of Israel, but also one of its great destroyers. He who knew how to defeat terrorism, but brought a plague of terrorism to the south. His great determination and ability to decide and act allowed him to reach impressive achievements, but also disastrous actions.”
“While thanking and recognizing Sharon’s great contributions to the State of Israel, we must also thank God for the fact that Sharon was taken from our public lives before he was able to bring to residents of Judea and Samaria the tragedy he brought to the residents of Gush Katif and around Gaza,” she added.
Soon after, she released a second message saying that she was misunderstood.
“I didn’t pray for Sharon to die; I didn’t ask for him to get sick; I didn’t hope his term as prime minister would end as it did; and I am not happy about the way he ended his life,” she wrote. “I do not manage God’s ledger, but in reality, the fact that [Sharon] could not continue his plan of destruction and expulsion saved the State of Israel from greatly deteriorating.”
Bayit Yehudi MK Motti Yogev also implied that Sharon’s long coma was a punishment for the disengagement from Gaza.
Yogev compared Sharon to a giant tree guarding the people and State of Israel, but said “even big trees fall when they’re cut off from their roots.”
“For eight years a giant tree was in a coma after falling because it disconnected from the roots of its life by destroying and evacuating the towns of Gush Katif, but we cannot know God’s considerations,” Yogev added.
Later Sunday Yogev said, “The level of security, the drones, helicopters, and deployment of Iron Dome [missile defense] batteries at the Sycamore Ranch proves that the disengagement was a mistake.”
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) called Sharon “a symbol of the classic Right’s tragedy. He was a warrior and a leader – what more could we want? – but he was a great destroyer in his later years.”
“After Sharon, the Right has nothing to hope for anymore. We will not find a greater ideologue than [former prime minister Menachem] Begin, a more stubborn man than [former prime minister Yitzhak] Shamir, a greater leader than Sharon or a more talented diplomat than [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu,” Feiglin wrote. “It isn’t leaders; it’s their path. Without a Jewish horizon, the path ends.”
Yesha Council foreign envoy and former director Dani Dayan called Sharon “Israel’s greatest warrior since the Macabees. He saved Israel by his virtuous crossing of the Suez Canal. He established thriving communities across our ancestral homeland, changing its landscape forever. He defeated Palestinian terrorism against all odds.”
Dayan concluded: “Today, I prefer to stop the memories there, and not deal with the terrible mistake known as the Gaza disengagement.”