January 14: Readers react to the death of Ariel Sharon

I was convinced that if there was a chance to achieve peace with the Arabs, Sharon was the man to achieve it.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Readers react to the death of Ariel Sharon
Sir, – During the 1973 Yom Kippur War I served as an officer in the medical unit of Ariel Sharon’s division. Sharon was a military strategist on a level rarely seen in any part of the world. I was so overwhelmed by his leadership that after the war I became a follower and admirer of his throughout his political career.
I was convinced that if there was a chance to achieve peace with the Arabs, Sharon was the man to achieve it. My devotion to him, however, cost me many friends in the religious community where I lived.
Because of his stroke we will never know if his strategy was correct or not. He was a remarkable man and leader whose memory should last forever.
The January 12 Jerusalem Post was devoted to the greatness of Ariel Sharon. In this context, perhaps, a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is appropriate: “The good that men do is oft interred with their bones. The evil that men do lives on after them.”
In terms of the evil, Sharon expelled 8,000 Jews from Gush Katif, destroyed their homes, their schools, their synagogues, their livelihoods and their way of life. And thus, it will also be part of Sharon’s legacy.
I. GENDELMAN Jerusalem
Sir, – Pardon me, but the entire January 12 front page of The Jerusalem Post sickened me. Ariel Sharon was a great man.
He was a great, courageous general, a savior of Israel. Was. But the ineradicable stain of Gush Katif was his! And, if the published reasons for his desertion of his people are true, they were the most cowardly reasons.
We are all accountable until we breathe our last.
Sir, – I was very sorry to hear of the loss of a great leader, the former prime minister Ariel Sharon.
He was not only a solid cornerstone in the rebirth of Israel, but also a major pillar in the growth of a nation in a challenging part of the world. He espoused the values of a strong democracy, peace and survival through strength.
I truly understand what he achieved for the Jewish people.
RICH BERDAN Windsor, Ontario
Sir, – With regard to “World leaders praise Sharon’s commitment to Israeli security, peace” (January 12), exactly where is that peace? It certainly didn’t happen after Ariel Sharon forcibly expelled thousands of Jews from their homes and businesses in Gush Katif. All we have to show for that is continual rocket fire into Israel, with the Palestinian arsenal growing daily.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sharon in his later years surprised many in his pursuit of peace, and that today we all recognize, as he did, that Israel must be strong to make peace and that peace will also make Israel stronger. UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said Sharon would be recalled for his determination over the Gaza evacuation.
So speak true supporters of the continued expulsion of Jews from their homes in order to hand them over to an enemy that has not only denied us any historic rights to our land, but also has made clear that not a single Jew will remain in “Palestine.”
Sir, – At the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in the streets of London showing their opposition to her policies were no less aggrieved than the thousands of Israeli citizens who suffered as a direct result of Ariel Sharon’s decision regarding the Gaza expulsion. It is therefore to their great credit that they allowed his funeral to proceed uninterrupted and afforded it the respect and honor it deserved.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion
Sir, – I commend you for your comprehensive coverage of the life of Ariel Sharon, which helps us gain meaning and perspective on his life.
I will always be grateful to him for making the courageous decision to send soldiers across the Green Line to snuff out Palestinian terror. Until then, our lives were a nightmare. Yet there are others who view the disengagement from Gaza as a disaster, including, but not limited to, the (sometimes) ongoing missile attacks from there.
One learns that is hard to be a saint, but one’s accomplishments should be measured as a whole.
Sir, – I was horrified to read that the casket of former prime minister Ariel Sharon was to lay in state Sunday outside the Knesset for members of the public to pay their last respects.
In Judaism, delaying burial is considered a grave dishonor to the deceased. Lying in state is a non-Jewish practice that has no place in a Jewish state.
Sir, – The country truly appreciates all of Ariel Sharon’s efforts as a soldier charged with the mission of defending us all.
When he got to be prime minister, however, things changed, maybe because of difficulties in funding his election campaigns.
He and his sons were involved in financial shenanigans three separate times. According to “Sharon, the life of a lion” (January 12), these affairs were called “Greek Island,” “Cyril Kern” and “The Annex.”
Some will say that this is why he chose to negate everything he ever stood for and destroy Gush Katif and the lives of all the people who lived there. Maybe he thought that our very leftwing press and media, which could protect him like an etrog (citron), could extricate him from the monetary mess.
Did he really trade the lives of all the citizens of Gush Katif, thereby giving the press something else to think about rather than these distasteful scandals, so as to save himself and his sons from jail time? We can only guess.
In Shakespearean tragedy this is called the “tragic flaw,” something that in the end destroys the hero. One might also say that God Himself took a hand and meted out a truly biblical punishment to Sharon, leaving him neither alive nor dead for eight years.
The old phrase comes to mind: “Let not my old age disgrace my youth.” We will remember Ariel Sharon for his heroic youth.
Sir, – After Ariel Sharon’s young son Gur was accidentally shot in the head by a stray bullet left in an antique gun, a neighbor who was a nurse, Rachel Rosen, held him in her arms. They shouted for my husband, a doctor on the next street.
My husband heard them. He took his medical bag and went through the gardens to reach the scene. They found a car, and he went with Sharon and the nurse.
As the boy was wounded in the head, blood covered his face and my husband thought the child belonged to the nurse.
On arrival at the hospital, doctors pronounced Gur dead. His father broke down in tears. It was only then that my husband realized the truth.
There is a memorial to Gur Sharon at the top of Jonathan Street in Zahala, where it happened.
HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah
Sir, – In the early 1960s, when I first went to study in New York for advanced degrees, I was told that whenever a famous person dies I should buy The New York Times. Then I’ll have a well researched biography of that individual.
I still have in my files the ones on David Ben-Gurion and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Now I can increase that number to three with Tovah Lazaroff’s most informative “Sharon: The life of a lion.”