Every time I turn on the computer or return to it, I check the news sites.
Is Ariel Sharon dead yet?
Am I the only one doing this?
The doctors were certain that he’d soon be dead eight years ago when he suffered serious strokes. He was always a “big” man, and we’re always told by the experts that those overweight have more health complications and a shorter lifespan than the slim ones. That winter I was in the states a couple of times for smachot, joyous occasions, and people kept asking me, as if I had direct connections to his sickroom, what was happening with the big, controversial man, a giant in Israeli history and then current events.
Long endless comas, lasting years are much more common with young people. And nowadays its pretty much the norm for those over a certain age to sign forms declining all sorts of dramatic, life-saving techniques and CPR when the expected result would be a “life not worth living,” vegetative, coma, severely disabled and outrageously expensive.
Since last week, we’ve been getting news reports that Arik Sharon is close to death, but somehow, he hasn’t yet died.
The eighth anniversary of the stroke that left former prime minister Ariel Sharon in a coma and ended his political career was marked on Saturday with his family at his side as he remained in critical condition.
According to the latest update from Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Sharon’s vital organs are slowly failing, his health continues deteriorating and his life is at risk.
Could it be that God still doesn’t know what to do with Arik? Should He put him in Hell as punishment for all of those well-known sins against the Holy Land and the Jewish People alive and dead? Or should He reward Sharon for his greatness in defending the Jewish State, saving Jews and building for Jews in the Land of Israel?
There was no “in between,” moderate Center in the living and functioning Ariel Sharon. He was either a hero or evil. “Ketzaleh,” former MK Yaakov Katz, explains this in his own personal story:
No two politicians could have more of a love-hate relationship than Ariel Sharon and Yaakov Katz. Sharon is barely holding on to life, and Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, whose life Sharon saved in war and who worked hand in hand with Sharon to bring Jews to Gaza, Judea and Samaria, recalls how Sharon jilted the nationalist movement, expelled Jews and destroyed their homes and synagogues.
On a personal note, my wonderful, beautiful Shiloh neighborhood is due entirely to Arik Sharon.
Thirty-three years ago, when I came with my daughters to visit Shiloh the first time on TU B’Shvat we saw the area of the Biblical Tel Shiloh, the nearby caravans and cement prefabs which housed the community and the slope just above where the Shiloh chalutzim pioneers were building permanent homes. Within a few weeks, we came as a family with my husband for Shabbat and decided that Shiloh would be our new home. About a month later, after Purim, we got a phone call inviting us to come during Passover and tour the overlooking hilltop where we would live.
It was explained to us that Arik Sharon, then the Housing and Construction Minister, had visited Shiloh. The residents had proudly showed him that they were already building permanent homes. He looked around and asked why they had picked that slope when there was a much larger and suitable hill just above.
My soon to be neighbors were disappointed that the legendary Arik Sharon wasn’t enthusiastic about their building. Sharon insisted that they had mad a mistake. The eastern hill which overlooks the east bank of the Jordan was a much better, more important and strategic place to develop than the area they had chosen. Putting facts on the ground was Sharon’s specialty, and that’s what he did. He told them that as Minister of Housing he was going to order fifty quality prefabricated cement homes for his preferred hill, now called Ramat Shmuel, and that’s what he did. Considering that there were just over thirty families living in Shiloh at the time, a neighborhood of fifty was life-changing for the small community.
When we visited the hilltop during Passover, we fell in love with it. There were thousands and thousand of wildflowers covering the ground. It had been a good wet winter, and since nobody had walked on the soil for a few thousand years, the delicate wildflowers grew profusely.
Sharon had a road bulldozed and the gorgeous hill was prepared for fifty homes. In the end ten were allocated to Migdalim, and we got forty. That first late summer and fall most were empty, so three were allocated to the new school which opened the day we arrived, September 1, 1981. Within a short time, our neighborhood had more families than the veteran neighborhood had, especially after an even larger building project went up.
This Arik Sharon was the exact opposite of the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who signed off on Disengagement which destroyed the lives of thousands of Jews, destroyed communities, businesses, schools and uprooted Jewish graves.
Chazal, our sages, say that sometimes when a Jew has lived a life with such contrasts, G-d wants to reward him in Olam haBa, the Next World, but first he must suffer sufficiently in This World to pay for his sins. Is that why Arik Sharon has been in such a coma all these years?
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About the Author: Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.
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