By Bernard J. Shapiro

As he takes office, Ariel Sharon, can look back on an illustrious career in both the military and political spheres. The words controversial, dynamic, stubborn, hardline and adventurous are used frequently. The most accurate description of Sharon's military career is brilliant. His tactics from crushing terrorism in Gaza to saving Israel during the Yom Kippur War set almost impossible standards for the Israel Defense Forces. War collages around the world study his tactics. The Labor/Left has tried to tarnish his image over the Peace for Galilee War (Lebanon). It was, in fact, a major success driving Arafat and his PLO troops out of Lebanon into exile in Tunis. All was not perfect but the security of Northern Israel was greatly improved. With Oslo, the Left brought Arafat and his gang of terrorists to the heartland of Eretz Yisrael.

Sharon has held many high offices and political positions with great distinction. In this troubled time he is being called upon to lead the nation as its Prime Minister. He must restore the Zionism that has been destroyed by the post-Zionist Left. He must restore patriotism and security for all of Israel's citizens.

I pray for a new proud Jewish government under Sharon coming to power in Israel. A government that reclaims the Jewish Holy Places and restores Jewish sovereignty in all of Eretz Yisrael. I pray Moslem control will be removed from the Temple Mount to make it ready for Moshiack. I pray that the enemies of Israel, who raise up their hands to murder or injure Jews will driven from our Holy Land. I pray that the secular Jews of Israel and the world will become more observant and return to the Torah. I pray religious Jews become more tolerant of diversity in Jewish practice.

I pray that a new Israeli foreign policy grovels before no nation, no matter how powerful. I see Israel's Foreign Minister informing every nation that their embassies must be in Jerusalem. If they don't respect Israel's capital, then maybe they can have a consulate in Tel Aviv. I see the government demanding that the Vatican return all the property it has stolen from the Jewish people during the last 2000 years. Maybe they will refuse and we could always hold their property in Israel as a down payment. The Vatican has been used to dealing with obsequious groveling Jews, but now they would see proud fearless Jews. I pray that Sharon's government would change its relationship with America from one of subservience to one of equal alliance.

Yes, I have a prayer that Jews will no longer debate the obvious: like whether to hold onto what is theirs or trade it away; whether to struggle for survival or to give up from fatigue. I have a dream that under Sharon's inspiration the Jews of the kibbutz and the Jews of YESHA will be reborn as brothers and patriots. From the Galilee to Eilat, all the people of Israel will share the same dream of a powerful independent Zionist nation. I have a dream that this strong, proud independent Israel will win the respect of all the nations of the world, including the Arabs. Instead of the contempt it has earned in recent years, Israel will again be a light unto the nations. And finally, I pray that this new Israel will find the peace it so dearly deserves. A peace with strength and self-respect. As I look back at 4000 years of Jewish history, I have but one urgent hope and prayer: We must make this dream a reality. There is no alternative.

May the Lord bless Ariel Sharon and give him the courage to pursue peace, and the wisdom to know when it is not attainable. May the Lord bless the war-weary Israeli people with the stamina to bear up under the strain, if peace not just around the corner. May they understand that their fate may be that of endless struggle to survive in a hostile world and may they have the strength to understand that there is still no alternative (ein brera). May the people of Israel prosper and go from success to success never forgetting that their destiny lies in their might, their righteousness and their faith in HaShem.

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