And despite it all, as Sharon’s soul journeys along to stand trial before the heavenly court, let me accompany it with two stories in his defense.
One cool, autumnal night, I was positioned with long-range binoculars at a station adjacent to the command post overseeing the IDF’s operations to squelch the terrorism emanating from the villages of Safi and Fifa, east of the Dead Sea. In the middle of the night I heard a voice at my side asking what I had seen so far. It was Arik, then the commander of the regional command. He had passed over the intervening ranks and come on his own to ask a sergeant questions. This was my first lesson in getting down to details.
I received my second lesson while serving in the Rimon commando unit. The regional commander, General Sharon, arrived for a surprise visit, but the unit’s commander was absent. Another team commander and I were the only commanders to be found.
Sharon called us into an operations room and held a kind of advisory discussion, a sort of review or inquiry into our modus operandi. It was important to him to hear our opinion: he asked us about the efficacy of different types of activity in the sector. This wasn’t modesty (or perhaps it was?), but a lesson in how to go about business, and a moment of truth.
The generals of the IDF have now covered Arik Sharon’s grave with the earth of the Land of Israel, “for you came from the dust, and from the dust you shall return.” Baruch dayan ha’emet. Blessed is the Judge of truth.
Originally published in Makor Rishon