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It is the mark of Ariel Sharon that in death the glowing tributes to his military prowess were not the manufactured puffery that usually infuses these exercises. To be sure, there were the usual critics along the way making relatively minor points. But he really was the fearless, innovative, consummate military leader and defender of Israel everyone is talking about.
In retrospect, Mr. Sharon seemed tailor-made for the modern state of Israel’s ongoing plight as the focus of non-stop enmity on the part of nearly 100 million Arab neighbors. Indeed, the story of Israel’s perseverance in the face of countless terrorist attacks and several major wars since its inception cannot be told without major attention being paid to the contributions he made.
In 1948 he played a key role in defending Jerusalem during the War of Independence. In the early 1950s he showed no quarter in responding to terrorist attacks in a manner that earned him a reputation for ruthlessness – but that also put terrorists on notice that fearsome retribution was the price they would pay for raising their hands against Jews in Israel.
In the 1956 Sinai campaign against Egypt, his unit, against orders, captured the strategic Mitla Pass, though he was criticized over the operation’s timing.
In the 1967 Six-Day War, Mr. Sharon distinguished himself at the head of a brigade in a successful assault on the well-fortified Arab position at Abu Agheila/Umm, which was key to the Arab control of the Sinai. He was also highly praised for the achievements of his armored division in the capture of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula.
Perhaps his most noted exploit was at the head of a commando unit that drove across the Suez Canal into Egypt during the Yom Kippur War. He cut off and neutralized Egypt’s Third Army, turning the tide of the fighting. Significantly, Cairo was in shelling distance of his artillery, and the Egyptians were more than happy to agree to a cease-fire.
In sum, Ariel Sharon was the symbol to the world of a nation of Jews that could take care of itself if left to its own devices, and an international force to be reckoned with.
He was also a force in Israel’s political life, his tumultuous governmental career capped by his election in 2001 as prime minister, and he is generally credited by friends and foes alike for making a difference in Israel’s position in the international arena.
Yet it was in the latter sphere that the great and enduring blemish on his public service arose. By ordering the forced, unilateral eviction of the entire Jewish population of the Gaza Strip as some will-o-the-wisp gesture to peace, Mr. Sharon showed the world that reciprocity henceforth would no longer be a principle of the Jewish state in its dealings with the Arabs, that Jewish interests were expendable, and that exerting pressure on Israel is a policy that ultimately bears fruit.
And these are dangerous impressions, whatever Mr. Sharon’s motivations and expectations were when he made that fateful decision.
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Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?
To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists
Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.
Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.
Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.
Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves
The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.
One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.
In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.
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