Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon

Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon

David Landau

Language: English

Pages: 656

ISBN: 1400042410

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


From the former editor in chief of Haaretz, the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most dramatic and imposing Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.

The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel’s history. A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the Six-Day War of 1967, and is credited here with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

After leaving the professional army, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1982 Lebanon War in which he bore “personal responsibility,” according to the state’s commission of inquiry, for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia. As a general and as a politician, he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister, he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
Landau brilliantly chronicles Sharon’s surprising about-face, combining the immediacy of firsthand reportage with the analysis and independent insight of a historian’s perspective. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. This biography recounts the life of the man who is considered by many to be Israel’s greatest military leader and political statesman, illustrating how Sharon’s leadership transformed Israel, and how his views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society.

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touched down in Tel Aviv. “I am not happy with these statements [of Sharon’s],” Baker recalls Shamir assuring him. “ ‘I’m not asking you to adopt our position,’ I countered. ‘But I am asking you to keep this man from throwing land mines in the way of peace.’ ‘I don’t want to involve you in our internal politics,’ Shamir demurred…‘I will deal with it.’ By now, of course, I felt that he wouldn’t—and he never did.” That testimony is important because, as with the Likud government’s original

the paratroopers were to blow up houses again. The new policy of attacking only military targets had not yet fully gelled. Arik handed out flashlights to the troops with which they were to scour the homes before demolishing them. In the event, Arab Legion units tried to block their access, and a pitched battle developed between the two forces. The end result was seven legionnaires killed in the operation and three civilians, including the mukhtar, or headman, of Nahalin. Three months later,

campaign of Duby with Omri and Muhammad Rashid going off to meet with Martin Schlaff in Vienna.c I know that Duby Weissglas represents the interests of Martin Schlaff in Israel, as his attorney. Two years before, when the IDF shelled the casino, he wrote a letter threatening to sue the officers involved.5 In the event, Jericho remained closed to Israelis, and the casino stayed shut. That incontrovertible fact is cited by Sharon’s supporters to refute the allegations implied by Ya’alon. By the

see how I can interfere.” Golda Meir, the new prime minister (Eshkol had died suddenly in February 1969), also declined to step in on his behalf. Sharon now conducted a brief but very public flirt with leaders of the parliamentary opposition. Was he just posturing in order to put pressure on Golda and the government to overrule Bar-Lev? Or was he seriously preparing to embark on a political career? Unsurprisingly, Sharon himself endorses the latter version. But even if he was being disingenuous,

his story first to General Gazit, “but nothing was done.” He took it to a well-known journalist, but nothing was published. The journalist, though, telephoned the chief of staff in Tel Aviv. “I think there is something you ought to hear,” he said. Elazar read Bailey’s five pages in his presence. He picked up the phone and asked for Sharon. “I understand the people displaced for the maneuvers haven’t gone back yet … I want them back tomorrow! How do I know? There’s a Dr. Bailey here. He’s been

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