Ariel Sharon was an Israeli general and politician who eventually became Israel’s eleventh Prime Minister, serving from March 2001 until April 2006. Ariel became conscious of the necessity for self-defense early in his life, growing up in a hostile atmosphere during the Israel-Arab conflict, and joined Gadna at the age of fourteen. He joined Haganah at the age of seventeen and made a substantial contribution to his country’s independence battle. He began his career as a platoon leader in the Alexandroni Brigade and was rapidly advanced to the position of company commander of the Golani Brigade, where he achieved several successes before retiring as a Major General. His strategies were usually successful, despite the fact that several of his efforts were quite contentious. He returned to politics after retirement and held a number of important roles before becoming the country’s Prime Minister. Perhaps his most notable success as Prime Minister of Israel was the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, which kicked off the Arab-Israel peace process.
Childhood and Adolescence
Ariel Sharon was born on February 26, 1928, in Kfar Malal, a Jewish settlement in the then-British Mandate of Palestine, which is now part of Israel. Shmuel Scheinerman, his father, was born in Brest-Litovsk, and Dvora Scheinerman, his mother, was born in Mogilev, both in modern-day Belarus.
His parents met while attending university in Tiflis, Georgia, which was then part of Russia. They immigrated to Kfar Malay with the Third Aliyah, the third wave of Zionist immigration from Eastern Europe to Palestine, to escape the Communist regime’s rising persecution of Jews.
Ariel was the younger of two children born to his parents, and he had an older sister named Yehudit or Dita. He was fluent in both Hebrew and Russian as a child.
When Ariel was five years old, the family was shunned for taking a stand on many important topics on their own. They were banished from the local synagogue, among other things, which allowed him to grow up in a rather secular setting.
He realized as a young boy that they were not truly safe in the politically turbulent environment and that they needed to be prepared to defend themselves. Ariel joined HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, a Labor Zionist youth movement when he was ten years old in 1938.
Then, in 1942, he joined Gdudei No’ar (Gadna), an organization dedicated to giving young boys basic military training. He also began participating in armed night patrols at some point.
After that, in 1945, he joined Haganah, a Jewish militant organization operating in the British Mandate of Palestine. He began actively participating in warfare soon after. Until then, he went by the surname Scheinerman.
Sharon’s transformation into Ariel
His thirty-man battalion began making hit-and-run operations on Arab soldiers in the Kfar Malay area in the autumn of 1947. They also bombed Arab villages and bases, obliterating roads and causing traffic jams. They were able to quickly build up the strength required for future operations.
Following that, the ambushes and raids became increasingly close together, and Ariel was promoted to platoon leader in the Alexandroni Brigade in 1948 for his contributions to these attacks. He’d evolved into a combative soldier by this point.
His unit fought in the First Battle of Latrun later that year. He was shot in the groin, stomach, and foot several times during the war. Although some accounts indicate he was kidnapped and sold as a prisoner, he has never confessed it.
Despite this, he recovered rapidly from his wounds and returned to command his platoon.
David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of the state of Israel, Hebraized his name to Sharon sometime around the end of 1948. From then on, he was referred to as Ariel Sharon.
Military Service in the Early Years
Sharon was appointed to a company commander of the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit in September 1949. He joined Central Command as an intelligence officer a few months later, in early 1950. Operation Bin Nun Alef into Jordan was one of his final operations during this time.
He took a leave of absence in 1952 to study history and Middle Eastern culture at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. He was invited back the following year to form a special task force capable of reacting to Palestinian fedayeen attacks. He was also raised to the rank of Major at some point.
The Commando Unit 101 was established in August 1953, with Major Sharon as its commander. They carried out many attacks in the West Bank, which was then occupied by Jordan. For the first time, such raids served as a warning to Israel’s adversaries that it is capable of retaliating.
In October 1953, his troops invaded Qibya, a community in the West Bank that the Palestinian fedayeen used as a base. This was in reprisal for the Yehud attack on October 12, 1953, which killed an Israeli woman and her two children while they slept in their home.
In Qibya, Sharon’s army blew up 45 civilian homes, a school, and a mosque in retaliation. At least 65 Palestinian civilians were also killed, half of them were women and children. The tragedy, dubbed the Qibya Massacre, received international outrage, and the Israeli government denied that the Israeli army was engaged.
The Paratroopers Brigade was formed in 1954 when Unit 101 and the 890 Paratroopers Battalion combined. Sharon continued to raid into Arab land as its commander, commanding important raids including Operation Black Arrow, Operation Elkayam, Operation Egged, Operation Olive Leave, Operation Volcano, Operation Gulliver, and Operation Lulav.
In late 1956, he was assigned as the commander of his paratroopers’ brigade to the Sinai Campaign, also known as the Suez Crisis. During the campaign, his brigade was heavily shelled and lost a lot of men near the Mitla Pass.
He took prohibited efforts to save several of his soldiers, which many in the military later denounced as insubordination. It slowed his advancement in the service.
In 1957, he was assigned to Officer Training at Staff College in Camberley, England. Sharon was elevated to the rank of colonel upon his return in 1958. He then spent the following three years as a senior administrative officer in the General Staff’s training section, where he oversaw the Infantry School.
Ascending the Ranks
Ariel Sharon was appointed brigade commander of the armored corps in 1962. When Yitzhak Rabin became Chief of Staff two years later, in 1964, he appointed Sharon to the position of Chief of Staff at Northern Command headquarters.
In 1966, he was promoted to Chief of the General Staff’s training division. In the same year, he graduated from Tel Aviv University with a law degree.
He was then raised to the rank of major-general or Aluf in early 1967. Sharon, then the commander of an armored division, was instructed to defend the Sinai front before the Six-Day War began on June 5.
Instead, he went on the offensive with a complicated plan that included troops, tanks, and paratroopers, winning the Battle of Abu-Aguila and conquering the Sinai Peninsula. His techniques were judged to be unique by military researchers in the United States and other countries, and he gained international praise for the operation.
Sharon was named the head of the IDF’s Southern Command in 1969, during the War of Attrition. He led the army to many key battles, including the destruction of the fortification on Green Island, which the Egyptians used to dominate the entire sector’s airspace.
Ariel Sharon withdrew from the army in August 1973. Sharon was recalled to active duty on October 6, 1973, when the Yom Kippur War began. He was now assigned to the reserve armored division, and his army crossed the Suez under the cover of darkness, thereby winning the war.
He then encircled and cut off the Egyptian Third Army’s supply line. Although it caused internal strife among Major General Avraham Adan’s division, which was fighting on the same field, his efforts were ultimately proved to be militarily efficient, and he was recognized as a hero.
Getting Into Politics
Ariel Sharon joined the Liberal Party shortly after retiring in August 1973. In September, he began collaborating with opposition leader Menachem Begin to build the Likud Party, which combines several centrist and right-wing elements.
He was elected Chairman of the campaign committee, but he had to resign since he was called to military duty. On his return, he ran for the Likud party in the election and was elected to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in December 1973.
Sharon resigned from the Knesset in December 1974, after being irritated by petty party politics. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assigned him to a reserve command in the army. From June 1975 until March 1976, he also served as his special adviser on counter-terrorism.
Sharon created Shlomtzion, a new political party, in May 1977, after an unsuccessful attempt to take over the leadership of the Likud party. However, shortly after winning the election, he merged his party with Likud, forming the government.
Sharon has been named Minister of Agriculture. He utilized his influence to launch a scheme that resulted in the construction of over 200 Jewish colonies in contentious regions such as the Gaza Strip.
Sharon was appointed Defense Minister after the Likud party won the 1981 election. He subsequently went on to re-establish diplomatic relations with a number of African countries, as well as assist Ethiopian Jews in their migration to Israel.
Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, primarily to push out PLO leader Yasser Arafat and his soldiers, who were camped in Beirut. To achieve his purpose, he formed an alliance with Bachir Gemayel, the head of a pro-Christian administration at the time.
However, after Gemayel’s assassination, his adherents assaulted the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, killing between 762 and 3,500 persons, predominantly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiite men, women, and children. Sharon is said to have had the ability to stop it, but he did nothing.
He was deemed to be negligent in his duty during an investigation into the occurrence in 1983. He was thereafter relieved of his duties. Sharon, on the other hand, stayed in the government as a minister with no portfolio.
He later served as Minister of Industry and Trade from 1984 until 1990. He was key in the signing of the 1985 free trade deal with the United States during this time.
He then served as Minister of Housing and Construction from 1990 to 1992. There was a new influx of immigrants arriving from the Soviet Union at the time, and Sharon was able to accommodate them by constructing 144,000 new apartments.
At the same time, he was a key figure in the Knesset. He was elected to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in 1990, as well as Chairman of a committee tasked with regulating Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union. He served in both capacities until 1992.
He joined Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in 1996 as Minister of National Infrastructure, a position he held until 1998. He then served as Foreign Minister in the same cabinet from 1998 to 1999.
As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,
Ariel Sharon was elected Chairman of the Likud Party in 1999, as the Labor Party formed the government. He has now begun his campaign for the position of Prime Minister.
On September 28, 2000, he paid a visit to the Temple Mount complex, which includes the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, escorted by a large contingent. He also stated that the location would be under Israel’s supervision from now on.
While the Temple Mount is the holiest site for Jews, it is also Islam’s third holiest shrine. Sharon’s arrival naturally sparked a new wave of Palestinian attacks, prompting Israel to become tougher. As a result, when the election was held on February 6, 2001, Sharon handily won.
In the beginning, he stuck to his hardline views, working tirelessly to ensure his country’s security. He suggested in September 2001 that Palestinians should be allowed to build their own area west of the Jordan River.
In 2002, he launched Operation Defensive Shield, which was a major military operation in a number of Palestinian territories in response to Palestinian suicide bombings. He also gave his approval for the construction of a wall around the West Bank.
The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza
Ariel Sharon, on the other hand, had a change of heart and accepted a US roadmap for peace between Israel and Palestine in 2003. Following that, he called for the entire departure of Israeli forces and settlers from Gaza. Despite the displeasure of many of his supporters, he continued with his plan.
He ordered around 8,500 Israeli residents evacuated from Gaza between August 16 and August 30, 2005. The towns were obliterated as well. On September 11, 2005, Israel’s forces evacuated the area, ending a 38-year presence.
He advocated forming a new party called Kadima after his effort was met with opposition inside the Likud Party. He had two strokes and became handicapped before he could develop them.
Personal History and Legacy
Ariel Sharon met Margalit Zimmerman, a sixteen-year-old girl, in 1947. In 1953, they married and had a son named Gur. She worked as a psychiatric nurse supervisor.
Margalit was killed in an automobile accident on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv route in May 1962. Gur was unintentionally shot by a friend five years later, in October 1967, while they were playing with a rifle in Sharon’s family house.
He married Lily, Margalit’s younger sister, in 1963, a year after she died, and they produced two sons, Omri and Gilad. On March 25, 2000, Lily died of lung cancer.
Sharon has battled obesity, chronic high blood pressure, and high cholesterol since the 1980s. He was a foodie who also liked to smoke cigars. Sharon was admitted to the hospital on December 18, 2005, after suffering a small ischemic stroke.
Instead of resting, he went back to work right once, and on January 4, 2006, he had a hemorrhagic stroke. He endured two procedures following that. Despite the fact that the bleeding had stopped, he fell into a coma and stayed there until his death on January 11, 2014.
His remains were laid in state at the Knesset Plaza beginning January 12 and a state funeral was held on January 13. He was afterward buried alongside his wife Lily at the family’s Negev Desert estate.
Camp Ariel Sharon is the name of a military camp complex in southern Israel that is currently being built. Ariel Sharon Park, which is now under development outside of Tel Aviv, is also named after him. When completed, the park will be three times the size of New York’s Central Park.
Estimated Net worth
Israel’s eleventh Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has a net worth of $20 million USD.