PM at Sharon memorial: Arik understood the Iranian regime

Peres criticizes Netanyahu for agreeing to address Congress.

January 30, 2015 02:59
3 minute read.
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu lays a wreath at the grave of Ariel Sharon at Sycamore Ranch

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu lays a wreath at the grave of Ariel Sharon at Sycamore Ranch in the Negev. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed a finger at Tehran on Thursday, saying it was behind Hezbollah’s attack the previous day on IDF vehicles traveling close to the Lebanese border that killed two soldiers.

“This is the same Iran that is trying to reach an agreement whereby it will be allowed to maintain the ability to develop nuclear weapons. We are resolutely opposed to such an agreement,” the prime minister said. “We will continue to defend ourselves from all threats both near and far.”

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Netanyahu spoke at the state memorial marking the first anniversary of the death of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. A few hundred people attended the ceremony that was held near Sderot at the Sharon family’s Sycamore Ranch, where Ariel Sharon is buried.

He died on January 11, 2014, at the age of 85, after eight years in a coma that was caused by a stroke.

Netanyahu said he didn’t always agree with Sharon, but that the late former prime minister knew very well the nature of the Iranian regime, and that what Sharon said is still valid today.

“Sharon understood that even those who were called moderates in Iran were talking about the destruction of the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “Sharon had no illusions regarding Iran, and had no doubts about what to do about it.

“Iran is arming, training and sponsoring the messengers of terrorism near our borders, north and south,” Netanyahu said. “Just this week we heard an Iranian official saying ‘The destruction of Israel will come.’ “Iran has been trying for a while, via Hezbollah, to set up a front against us on the Golan Heights,” the prime minister continued. “We must work aggressively and responsibly against this.”

Many of the nation’s top leaders attended the ceremony, including former president Shimon Peres, politicians Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni, Amir Peretz, Silvan Shalom, Gideon Sa’ar and Moshe Kahlon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel Police Insp.- Gen. Yochanan Danino and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor. Also in attendance were former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, businessman Dudi Apel and actress Gila Almagor.

Gilad Sharon said his father was a bit like the Hungarian kitchen – functioning based on emotion.

“He was both sensitive and tough, and many times those two characters collided,” Gilad said. “He was always sensitive to the bitter fate of our enemy,” he added.

Gilad said his mother, Lily, who died in 2000, truly loved Ariel Sharon and accepted him as he was, except she wished he would go on a diet. “It was pretty hard of course because of all the great cooking she did,” Gilad said.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Sharon was a man of extremes.

“His legacy has many shades, somewhat polarized.

Everyone remembers his own Sharon,” he said.

Edelstein said he did not see eye to eye with Sharon’s decision to disengage from the Gaza Strip, but praised Sharon’s effort on aliya. “Sharon was the one pushing for a better absorption package for each immigrant, he really changed the landscape of Israel,” he said.

Peres issued a statement saying Sharon conducted many successful wars for Israel, but contributed greatly in promoting peace. “I am sure that if Sharon were alive today he would have made peace with the same bravery that he displayed in war,” the former president said.

Peres criticized Netanyahu for his upcoming speech before the US Congress that was arranged without the knowledge of US President Barack Obama.

“Bibi [Netanyahu] can make speeches at any place or date, but when the president of the United States asks him not to come before elections, he must respect that request,” Peres said.

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