may he rest in peace, was the person who influenced the shape of the State of Israel
as it is today more than any other person of the last few decades. He did it with defense, he did it with the settlements, he did it with relations with the countries of the world and with the relations between Israelis. Arik Sharon was the State of Israel, for better or for worse.
At this sad moment I would use one word to define him: "Architect." Sharon was the man who designed Israel's defense map. He was the one who largely determined the State's borders and our way of life as they are today. The State of Israel was created – more or less, for better or for worse – in his image.
Sharon was controversial in almost all of his military and political maneuvers. In the eyes of his supporters and followers, he was not God's deputy; God worked for him. In the eyes of his opponents and rivals, he was a troublemaker, the man who almost only thought about himself and his fame and who planned incessantly how to reach areas of influence and control. In the 85 years of his life, there were hardly any people in military and political positions who had not made up their mind about him. It was always radical and uncompromising: They either liked him very much, to the verge of idolization, or hated him very much, depicting him as devil incarnate.
As a private person, Sharon was a charming man. He knew how to endear himself to all those who saw and heard him. His long life experience gave him an abundance of stories, usually vicious, about each and every leader of the State and the IDF.
As a military commander, Sharon was an excellent tactician, winning every battle, curbing attacks by rivals and enemies. From time to time, he made cruel decisions. As a politician, he was an expert in using the media. Each of his battles, each of his debates, was "dramatic," "crucial," and always "taught in military schools around the world."
But almost always, since the mid-1950s, Sharon took part in the most difficult, crucial and important decisions in the State of Israel.
After Moshe Dayan
– the biggest Israeli idol, certainly in the defense arena – was General Sharon; he was the most famous Israeli security personality in the world. His militant, bold, beautiful image appeared on the covers of the world's most important newspapers. His belligerent statements largely shaped the lines of the State of Israel's policy for generations.
Sharon was a man of contradictions: Fearfully cynical, yet human and sentimental. A relentless conniver in politics against anyone who stood in his way, and a good friend to his friends. There was no one like him for caring for people left behind. He always made certain to appear as a man of the land and settlement, petting baby animals, and yet was merciless toward his enemies.
This man of contradictions will star for a long time in the books written about him, in radio and television shows, on front pages. His death, in many ways, is not an end. There is so much to say about him, that it is only the beginning.
Some people find comfort in the eye of the storm; Arik Sharon, always a man at the center in the hurricane, has reached his final resting place.