An Editorial

ARIEL SHARON: "KING OF ISRAEL"

By Bernard J. Shapiro

I have to admit that General Ariel Sharon has been one of my heroes for many years. Sharon is not only a legendary Israeli military leader, but also an innovative, dynamic charismatic political leader. He has served as Defense Minister and other positions in several Israeli governments.

Ariel Sharon has been a hero in each of Israel's wars, the architect of Israel's campaign to destroy Arab terrorist bases in Lebanon, and one of the most daring and successful commanders in Israel's extraordinary military history. It was Sharon, who in the darkest days of the Yom Kippur War, inspired the army to victory by his daring attack across the Suez Canal. Military academies, worldwide, study his brilliant tactics.

Today, he remains one of Israel's most visible and important political figures, as a member of the Knesset and National Infrastructure Minister in the Likud government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, it was Sharon's untiring efforts that contributed greatly to Netanyahu's victory over Labor candidate Shimon Peres. And then, Netanyahu, in an outrageous manner made him wait until last to receive a cabinet post.

Times have changed "big time" for Sharon and he is now re-emerging as the power that he should have always been. Two recent events have propelled him to the forefront of Israeli politics. First, the resignation of Dan Meridor as Finance Minister opened up one of the three most important positions in the government. Netanyahu has offered that ministry to Sharon, essentially bringing him back to the center of power. The second major event was the retraction of a 15 year slander against Sharon by Avigdor Ben-Gal. Ben-Gal had lied about Sharon's actions during the War in Lebanon in 1982. He claimed that Sharon had misled Prime Minister Menachem Begin about the goals and extent of the war. This accusation has hung like a black cloud over his career, effectively excluding him from the most important positions in government.

[Editor's Note: The Kahan Commission report 14 years ago charged him with indirect responsibility for the Sabra and Shatilla massacres. This has been used by the Left in Israel to heap slander and scorn on Sharon. In truth the Kahan Commission was influenced by the Left and should have never ruled on what was essentially a common act of war. Autopsy reports at Sabra and Shatilla revealed that the vast majority of those killed were men of combat age who were killed in heavy fighting in the camps. The Maronite Christians, who fought in these camps were angered by the assassination of their leader, Bashir Gemayel, and did inflict some collateral damage against civilians. This was common place in terrorist-run Lebanon and never should have been blamed on Sharon.]

The Israel of today is in deep trouble. The legacy of Oslo permeates virtually every political decision. This accord with a an unreconstructed terrorist is leading, step by step, to the destruction of the Jewish State. While elated with the election of Netanyahu, the reality of his first year is hugely disappointing. He has made no substantial move to staunch the flow of Jewish blood. Let us hope and pray that his decision to bring Sharon back to the center of power is a new beginning.

I could be wrong. It has happened before. But now I have something substantial giving me hope. You know the story of the camel's nose and tent. Perhaps Sharon's presence will have a synergistic effect on Netanyahu, releasing his inner Zionist soul. It will be hard to ignore someone of Sharon's brilliance and experience.

Freed at last from the demons that haunted him, I pray he will grow in influence and power to save Eretz Yisrael. Israel faces many severe, perhaps existential problems. No man is better qualified to seek solutions to those problems than Ariel Sharon. His friends call him "Arik" and his multitude of supporters shout "Arik Melack Yisrael" (King of Israel) when he appears in public.

THE MACCABEAN and its readers salute you Arik, and wish you success on your historic journey.


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