Ariel Sharon

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Sharon, Ariel

(är`ēĕl shärōn`), 1928–2014, Israeli general and politician, b. Kfar Malal as Ariel Scheinerman. As a teenager he joined the Haganah, the underground Zionist military brigade, and took his Hebrew name from the Sharon Plain, where he worked in 1947. A superb military leader in the 1948 and 1956 Arab-Israeli WarsArab-Israeli Wars,
conflicts in 1948–49, 1956, 1967, 1973–74, and 1982 between Israel and the Arab states. Tensions between Israel and the Arabs have been complicated and heightened by the political, strategic, and economic interests in the area of the great powers.
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, he was made a major general months before the 1967 war. In the 1973 conflict Israeli forces under his command captured Egypt's 3d Army. That year, Sharon resigned from the army, helped establish the right-wing Likud party, and won a seat in parliament. He served as security adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak RabinRabin, Yitzhak
, 1922–95, Israeli general and statesman, b. Jerusalem, the first native-born prime minister of Israel (1974–77, 1992–95). His extensive military experience began in 1940 when he joined the Haganah (Jewish militia) and thereafter fought in the
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 (1975–77) and as minister of agriculture (1977–81). He became (1981) defense minister in the second BeginBegin, Menachem
, 1913–92, Zionist leader and Israeli prime minister (1977–83), b. Russia. He became (1938) leader of a Zionist youth movement in Poland, where he also earned a law degree.
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 government, and engineered the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Sharon was the chief architect of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and was widely criticized for allowing Lebanese Christian forces into Palestinian refugee camps in West BeirutBeirut
, Arab. Bayrut, Fr. Beyrouth, city (1996 est. pop. 1,200,000), W Lebanon, capital of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Lebanon Mts. Beirut is an important port and financial center with food processing industries.
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 and held at least indirectly responsible for their subsequent massacre of civilians in the Sabra and Shatila camps. Ousted (1983) from the defense ministry, he subsequently was minister of trade and industry (1984–90) and minister of construction and housing (1990–92); in the latter post he worked to increase Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. In 1996 Sharon became minister of national infrastructure in Benjamin NetanyahuNetanyahu, Benjamin or Binyamin
, 1949–, Israeli diplomat and politician, prime minister of Israel (1996–99, 2009–), b. Tel Aviv.
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's cabinet, and in 1998 he was also appointed foreign minister. After Netanyahu lost the prime ministership to One Israel (Labor) party leader Ehud BarakBarak, Ehud
, 1942–, Israeli military and political leader, prime minister of Israel (1999–2001). The son of East European immigrants in Palestine, he was born Ehud Brog, later adopting the Hebrew name Barak [lightning].
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 in 1999, Sharon succeeded Netanyahu as Likud leader.

In 2000, Sharon, accompanied by hundreds of soldiers and police, visited to the Al Aksa Mosque (Temple Mount), a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, located in Palestinian East Jerusalem, ostensibly to show that Israel had sovereignty over it and other holy sites. The visit sparked Arab demonstrations in Jerusalem and in many Arab enclaves, leading to a bloody Palestinian insurrection and, less directly, a prime-ministerial election in which Sharon, pledging to try to reach a workable Arab-Israeli peace while promoting domestic security, defeated Barak (2001). Sharon formed a government of national unity, but pursued a hard line with the Palestinians. Violence escalated in both the occupied territories and Israel, and in 2002 Sharon ordered the reoccupation of West Bank towns in an attempt to prevent attacks against Israelis. The national unity government broke up in Oct., 2002, and new elections in early 2003 resulted in a Likud victory.

In 2003 his government accepted the internationally supported "road map for peace," and resumed talks with the Palestinians until violence again broke out that August. In 2005, however, he withdrew Israeli settlers and forces from the Gaza Strip because of security issues; the move was opposed by many in Likud, and forced him into a coalition (2005) with Labor. Following the withdrawal, Netanyahu unsuccessfully challenged Sharon for the Likud party leadership, and Sharon subsequently formed the centrist Kadima [Forward] party. A stroke in 2006 left Sharon hospitalized in a coma until his death; Ehud OlmertOlmert, Ehud
, 1945–, Israeli politician. After serving in the army and working as a lawyer, he won election to the Knesset in 1973 as a Likud candidate. Under Prime Minister Shamir he was minister without portfolio (1988–90) and minister of health (1990–92).
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 succeeded him as prime minister.

Bibliography

See his autobiography, Warrior (1989); biographies by U. Benziman (1985), A. Miller et al. (2002), and D. Landau (2014).

References in periodicals archive ?
1928: Born Ariel Shinerman in Palestine to Russian immigrants.