Ariel Sharon

By Bell, Michael | International Journal, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

Ariel Sharon


Bell, Michael, International Journal


ARIEL SHARON BECAME PRIME MINISTER of Israel on 6 February 2001 in a landslide popular vote. That victory was consolidated in the parliamentary elections of 28 January 2003 when the right-wing block he headed won 69 of 120 seats in the Israeli knesset. Sharon, a burly, charismatic, and controversial former parachute commander, had good reason to be satisfied as he took the oath of office. The moment he had spent his life preparing for had come and he was aware of, and willing to face, the inevitable crises. Like all larger-than-life figures, Sharon is complex: part hero, part hellion. Always in the forefront of his mind, however, was the need of his people, the Jewish people, for security. That is his leitmotif. It is the cause to which he has devoted his life.

Any Israeli leader is beset with challenges rare for politicians elsewhere. Israel has a vibrant and often unrestrained polity. It is a troubled society attempting to integrate culturally diverse Jewish communities ingathered from the world's four corners. Israelis are saddled with a proportional voting system which yields a multiplicity of single interest parties, their metaphorical knives constantly at the prime minister's throat. The Jewish state has neighbours who, if they accept its existence, do so reluctantly. Israelis face the daily threat of murderous terrorism to which governments must respond. Coupled with this is the responsibility, as occupier, of governing four million hostile Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Those Palestinians are committed to a viable state of their own and are deeply resentful of Israel's de facto annexation of what they fervently believe to be their remaining land.

Always a controversial but supremely confident figure, committed to building a "greater Israel" from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, the new prime minister felt more than ready for one of the most difficult public positions imaginable anywhere. Sharon took office in the midst of the al Aqsa Intifada-the Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule-and the terror bombing against Israeli citizens that were part of it. He came to power in the shadow of the broken Oslo process, where his Labour party predecessor Ehud Barak had sought to negotiate a comprehensive peace with Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestinian Authority. The responsibility for Oslo's failure is still the stuff of acrimonious debate and discussion. At the time, Israelis of all stripes were dumbfounded by what they saw as Arafat's rejection of Barak's offers.

Ehud Barak had been prepared to accept a Palestinian state consisting of the virtual entirety of the West Bank and Gaza, the division of Israel's sacred city, Jerusalem, and the return to the Jewish state of a symbolic number of Palestinian refugees. Israelis blamed not only Arafat for the collapse of Oslo but also Barak for what they said were his tactical blunders and strategic blindness. Who better to replace him, a bruised and disappointed Israeli public concluded, than an individual with a proven reputation for tough and aggressive, even ruthless, leadership, someone who would never jeopardize Israel's security. Thus Sharon became Israel's prime minister.

Ariel Sharon was born on 27 February 1928 into a family of stubbornly independent pioneer farmers who were, paradoxically, members of a cooperative village, Kfar Malal, some 15 miles north of Tel Aviv in British-controlled Palestine. His Russian-born parents lived lives apart from the community as a whole. They were staunch individualists, regarded as difficult and arrogant by their neighbours, capitalists in a community of socialists, individualists who rejected the communal spirit of their village. As a youth, Sharon learned to farm, paint, and play the violin, but he did poorly at school. His early years were very unhappy. In his surprisingly candid 1989 autobiography he said, speaking of his friends, "The games we played in the fields and orchards stopped at the doors of their houses. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ariel Sharon
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.