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Politicians

The Sanctification of Ariel Sharon

Shades of Yitzhak Rabin! The campaign to sanctify Ariel Sharon has begun. While the media’s melodrama surrounding his stroke is vintage Hollywood, the fiction of his having charted a new course for Israel promising peace is theater of the absurd. I sincerely hope Mr. Sharon survives his illness. But please, let’s not bury the truth.

Pundits everywhere ignore the treachery of this prime minister, who implemented Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement, a policy rejected by an overwhelming majority of the people in the 2003 election. Some 8,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Gaza; their lives have been shattered; and Gaza has become the base of world terrorism. With weapons flooding into Gaza and entering Judea and Samaria, all of Israel is now threatened—thanks to Ariel Sharon.

Thus, while hoping Sharon survives his massive stroke, I see no reason why any candid and objective commentator should lionize this prime minister or bemoan his political demise.

Indeed, hardly anyone is a better critic of Sharon than Sharon himself, as was shown two years ago in my essay, “Sharon’s Self-Incrimination.” The most salient passages follow.

On March 31, 1995, when Yitzhak Rabin was Prime Minister, an article appeared in the Jerusalem Post entitled “The Enemy Within.” Its author wrote: “Those on whose head lies the blood of the 134 Israeli citizens murdered since the Oslo Agreement are anti-Jewish.” The author was none other than Ariel Sharon, under whose premiership, which began in February 2001, some 1,000 Jews have been murdered!

Mr. Sharon also wrote: “Anyone planning to hand over Beit El and Shiloh is against Jews and Judaism,” which is to say anti-Semitic. Since Mr. Sharon intends to hand over far more Jewish land to Arab terrorists, he too must be “against Jews and Judaism” or anti-Semitic!

What a pity, for Sharon is a Jew with battle-tested military knowledge. He warned the Rabin government that its plan to evacuate Gaza and various parts of Judea and Samaria would result in Jewish bloodshed: “Evacuating the IDF from Palestinian-populated areas will primarily affect the Jewish population in Jerusalem and the center of the country.” These areas, he wrote, “aren’t geared to defend themselves against terrorism.” “Those who leave Jenin will find they have intensified terror … And those who dare to evacuate the IDF from Ramallah and Bethlehem shouldn’t expect a day of tranquility in Jerusalem.”

Mr. Sharon thus foretold exactly what happened in Jerusalem and in the center of the country under his own government! And yet, despite what Israel has suffered during his reign—hundreds of Jewish men, women, and children reduced to body parts—Ariel Sharon went even beyond the folly of Yitzhak Rabin by advocating the establishment of a Palestinian state on Jewish soil. This makes him, according to his own criteria, not only “the enemy within” the State of Israel, but its greatest internal enemy!

What is the key to the behavior of this man? I believe it will be found in an interview published in Ha’aretz Magazine on April 13, 2001, two months after Sharon first became Israel’s Prime Minister. While homicide bombers were reducing Jews to human debris, Sharon said that his son Omri had taught him “not to see things in black and white.” Ponder the probable consequences of the moral relativism implicit in that confession.

First, this moral relativism cannot but undermine the Jewish people’s confidence in the absolute justice of Israel’s cause. [“A survey carried out by the Israel Democracy Institute on Israeli attitudes toward the state indicates that a mere 58% of Israelis are proud of being Israeli,]

Second, Sharon’s inability to think in terms of black and white may account for his failure to destroy the Palestinian Authority and its entire terrorist network. On July 11, 2001, [then] National Security adviser Condoleeza Rice told Israel’s Channel 2 TV News that the Bush administration resolved that the entire PA leadership should be replaced, not just Arafat …”

Third, a prime minister who does not think in terms of black and white is not likely to exact swift and sweeping vengeance against Arabs who shed Jewish blood. By not pursuing a policy of zero tolerance for Arab terrorism, Sharon made the murder of an indeterminate number of Jews “tolerable.” But if the murder of Jews is “tolerable,” is it any wonder that Sharon has no moral compunctions about expelling Jews from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza?

Unfortunately, Sharon’s reputation as a war hero has mesmerized countless Israelis. They do not see that a giant on the battlefield may be a moral pygmy in politics.

Returning to the present, however, one may count on Sharon being sanctified, especially by the Left. After all, judging from his article, “The Enemy Within,” did he not adopt the Left’s policy of territorial withdrawal, which he said was “against Jews and Judaism”?

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