Ariel Sharon– (1928-2014)–(Israeli military leader; Prime Minister 2001-2006)
Born: Kfar Malal, British Mandated Palestine (Modern Israel)
Ariel Sharon is one of the most famous of Israel’s military heros, gaining a reputation as a bold, brilliant tactician in Israel’s border wars and in the Suez War of 1956. Sharon served as teh commander of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip following the 1967 ArabIsraeli War in which Israel captured Gaza. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Sharon resigned from the military and entered politics, helping to found the hardline Likud Party.
He later served in several Israeli governments as the minister of defense and in other ministries in the 1980s and 1990s. As the Minister of Defense in the early 1980s, he was instrumental in the planning and execution of Israel’s 1982 Invasion of Lebanon. During that conflict, a massacre occurred at the Palestinian Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps; an attack for which many Arabs blame Sharon.
In 2001, Ariel Sharon won election as the Prime Minister of Israel during the Second Palestinian Intifada (Uprising), and served as Israel’s leader during most of that conflict. In 2005, he made the decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and soldiers from the disputed Gaza Strip, thereby turning it over to the Palestinian Authority. In 2005, he also broke from Likud and founded a new party called Kadima, which means “forward.”
Sharon suffered a minor stroke on December 18, 2005, later falling victim to a more massive cerebral hemmorhage on January 4, 2006. Sharon remained in a coma into February, 2006. On February 11, 2006, doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital removed nearly two feet of Ariel Sharon’s intestine. His condition eventually stabalized, and he was transfered to a long-term care facility. After 100 days of incapacitation, he was declared to no longer be the Prime Minister.
From 2006 to his death in January, 2014, Ariel Sharon was in a vegetative state. Ariel Sharon died on January 11, 2014.