Coming home

The long years in the army, the military operations, wars, victories and glory, as well as the wounds, pain, and friends who never returned from the battlefield, all left their mark on your soul.

FORMER PRIME minister Ariel Sharon (left) meets with then-US president George W. Bush during the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations (photo credit: REUTERS)
FORMER PRIME minister Ariel Sharon (left) meets with then-US president George W. Bush during the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations
(photo credit: REUTERS)
How could a man who loved working the land more than anything else, who was literally born in an orchard and gave his heart and soul to farming, go off and leave the fields, the fruit trees, and the sheep and cattle behind?
How is it that a person who was so sensitive and had such keen perception of the smallest details of the land and the human heart, along with the talent to describe and express them so well, didn’t become a writer or a journalist? How did such a man become a soldier, a commander, a military leader?
It was the circumstances, of course, the harsh circumstances of our life in Israel, surrounded by enemies seeking to annihilate us. They turned a dreamy-eyed boy, who sat on his family farm in the moshav looking east toward the Samarian hills and inventing tales of his heroic adventures, into the brave warrior he became, a man whose heroic deeds in real life surpassed anything he had ever dreamed of as a child.
The long years in the army, the military operations, wars, victories and glory, as well as the wounds, pain, and friends who never returned from the battlefield, all left their mark on your soul.
Eventually, the establishment “succeeded” in forcing you out of the army – because you were younger and more experienced, bolder and more brilliant, and because you returned from battle bathed in triumphant glory, and belonged to the “wrong” political camp. You cast a shadow over the mediocrity of the party and the military leaders who were regarded as “our people.”
After that, you did not wish to work for anyone else. All you wanted was to return to your first love, to the land, and you found a neglected piece of farmland on the road from Gaza to Hebron, and there you and mother built your home.
You left that home to fight another war, in which you led your troops across the Suez Canal, turning certain defeat into stunning victory. From there you went on to launch the Likud, serving in a variety of ministerial positions, establishing over a hundred settlements and building homes for a million new immigrants.
With all that under your belt, you were ready, and were elected by an overwhelming majority to lead the Jewish state. Once again, you struck a fatal blow to the terrorist activity that had taken the lives of our citizens, the same terrorism that had impelled a farmer like you to put on a uniform, and then a suit, for so many years. With your natural leadership skills, quietly and confidently, you brought sanity back to the nation and honor back to the post of prime minister.
And all that time, you kept the dream alive to come back to the farm.
When it was all over and you decided it was time to go, when the ceremonies ended and the honor guard at the Knesset was gone, that dream came true. My dear father, you came home.
The farm is flourishing and we are strong and united. We have built new outbuildings, planted new trees, doubled the number of sheep, and are working every inch of the land. On the hill overlooking the house, the fields and the pens are two large headstones. Beneath them, both of you are becoming one with the land.
Translated from Hebrew by Sara Kitai, [email protected]