Lawmakers and ministers from the right-wing Likud party – with the exception of two MKs – snubbed the official state remembrance ceremony for one of the party's founders and icons, the late former prime minister Ariel Sharon, at his family ranch in southern Israel on Friday.
Sharon, the burly former general who rose to the top of the political ladder following a controversial career in both the military and civilian life, was recognized on the second anniversary of his death.
After spending eight years in a coma following a stroke, Sharon passed away at the age of 85.
Although he rose through the political ranks through the Likud primarily as the patron of the settler movement, the religious Zionist movement was stung by Sharon's decision to uproot 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip as part of the "disengagement plan."
Liberals and left-wing figures revile Sharon for his decision – as defense minister in the Likud-led government of Menachem Begin – to invade Lebanon, which resulted in an 18-year period in which Israel was mired in a costly occupation of a security belt in the southern part of the country.
Sharon was also deemed indirectly responsible by a state commission of inquiry for a massacre of Palestinian refugees in Beirut-area camps by Christian militiamen allied with Israel.