Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon

Born on February 27, 1928. He joined the Haganah underground at the age of 14 in 1942 . During the 1948 War, he commanded an infantry company in the Alexandroni Brigade. Sharon was appointed Central Command and North Command intelligence officer in 1951-1952. He then went to study in the Hebrew University, but his studies were interrupted in 1953 when he was recalled to found and lead the "101" special commando unit which carried out retaliatory operations. Sharon and 101 were responsible for an infamous bloody raid in Qibieh, in October 1953, in which 69 civilians were killed. Sharon became Chief of Staff of the Northern Command in 1964 and Head of the Army Training Department in 1966. He fought in the 1967 Six Day War as commander of an armored division. In 1969 he was appointed Head of the Southern Command Staff.

Sharon resigned from the army in June 1972. He was recalled to active military service in the 1973 October War to command an armored division. Ariel Sharon was elected to the Knesset in December 1973. However, he resigned a year later, and served as Security Adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1975). He was elected to the Knesset in 1977. Following the elections, he helped organize and joined the Likud party and was appointed Minister of Agriculture in Menachem Begin's first government (1977-1981). In 1981 Ariel Sharon was appointed Defense Minister. He was the architect of the 1982 Lebanon War. Sharon was indicted by the Kahan commission for failing to foresee the possibility of Sabra and Shatila refugee camps massacre by Christian militiaa and failing to intervene after the massacre was underway. In 1983, Sharon resigned as Defense Minister after a government commission found him indirectly responsible for the September 1982 massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila.

Sharon remained in the government as a minister without portfolio until 1984. He served as Minister of Industry and Trade from 1984-90. From 1990-1992, Sharon served as Minister of Construction and Housing and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Immigration and Absorption. From 1992-1996, Sharon was a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In 1996, Ariel Sharon was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure in the Netanyahu government. In 1998, Ariel Sharon was appointed Foreign Minister and headed the permanent status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. He participated in the Wye River negotiations. While serving as Foreign Minister, Sharon met with U.S., European, Palestinian and Arab leaders to advance the peace process. After the election of Ehud Barak as Prime Minister in May 1999, Ariel Sharon became interim Likud party leader following the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu. In September 1999, he was elected Chairman of the Likud. He also served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset. Sharon insisted on visiting the Temple Mount Haram al-Sharif compound in September of 2001. His visit triggered al-Aqsa Intifada.

In election held February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister. During the first years of Sharon's administration diplomatic initiatives were stalled. Sharon ordered Operation Defensive Wall in the West Bank. Since the operation, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat remained besieged in his Muqata compound in Ramallah until October, 2004, when he was allowed to leave for medical treatment. In elections held January 28, 2003, Sharon's Likud party won 40 seats, Sharon formed a new coalition government. Targeted assassinations killed major palestinian leaders including Ahmed Yassin and Abdul-Aziz Rantissi, heads of the Hamas. In December 2003, Ariel Sharon adopted disengagement plan with Palestinians, the plan faced enormous opposition from Sharon's own Likud party. Nonetheless, on October 26, 2004, the Knesset passed the plan. On November 21, 2005, he announced that he was withdrawing from the Likud to found a new partyrenamed the Kadima Party Sharon's new party. Sharon suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke on January 4, 2006.

Ariel Sharon is twice widowed. His first wife, Margalit, was killed in an automobile accident. His second wife, Lily, died of lung cancer in 2000. He has two surviving sons, Omri and Gilad. A third son, Gur, died in 1967.

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