On the 10th of the Hebrew month of Shvat 2014, corresponding to 5774, Ariel Sharon passed away.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry''s reaction included this observation:
...he sought to bend the course of history toward peace, even as it meant testing the patience of his own longtime supporters and the limits of his own, lifelong convictions in the process. He was prepared to make tough decisions because he knew that his responsibility to his people was both to ensure their security and to give every chance to the hope that they could live in peace.During his years in politics, it is no secret that there were times the United States had differences with him. But whether you agreed or disagreed with his positions – and Arik was always crystal clear about where he stood – you admired the man who was determined to ensure the security and survival of the Jewish State. In his final years as Prime Minister, he surprised many in his pursuit of peace, and today, we all recognize, as he did, that Israel must be strong to make peace, and that peace will also make Israel stronger.
But did he achieve peace, in any form or measure and what about Israel''s security - and standing among the nations?
As my wife noted some seven years ago, even Yoel Marcus, the man who interviewed Sharon on February 2, 2004 and published the next day the explosive and even shocking report of that conversation, realized but three years later, that
Ariel Sharon''s unilateral disengagement turned out to be a serious mistake. It gave terror a boost, allowed the Iranians to call the shots in Gaza instead of the Egyptians, fueled anarchy in the Palestinian street and pushed the chances for an agreement even further away.
If it is the American intention to have Israel, its leaders, both military and political, to "surprise" us, to allow themselves to be "bent", against not only the patience of supporters, but lifelong convictions, I think Ariel Sharon''s failure to achieve what he sought (and I will not surmise if his decision, as claimed, was forced upon him by his son and advisors simply to seek left-wing support to avoid a judicial fate as a thief) is the best proof that that policy would have a negative affect, both on the country and the person promoting it.
February 2, the day he was interview, was the 10th of Shvat.
To the day, Sharon finally succumbed, after eight years in a medical no-man''s land.
We will remember his personal triumphs on the fields of Latrun, as commander of 101 and then the Paratroop Brigade and his other military exploits, especially the crossing of the Suez Canal.
We will remember his support for the recreation of a strong Jewish residency presence throughout the Land of Israel.
We will remember, too, and never forget his betrayal of the principles of the Zionist imperative and the code of Jewish security.
And if he has now achieved his own peace, we say Amen.