Ariel Sharon succumbs to the effects of 2006 stroke
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
One of Israel’s political and military heavyweights has succumbed to the effects of a stroke from 2006 which resulted in a eight-year coma.
Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, 85, died on January 11 at the long-term care facility in Tel Hashomer which had been treating him since 2006. Sharon was prime minister at the time of his stroke.
Born in 1928 in Israel, Ariel Sharon began his service to Israel in the Israeli Army during its inception in 1948. Sharon served as a paratrooper in the army and rose up the ranks to an officer. In 1981, he was appointed Defence Minister for Israel and served a key role in directing the 1982 Lebanon War. Sharon’s acts of war in regards to Lebanon would give birth to one of the low points of Sharon’s political career in the Sabra and Shatila massacre. In mid-September of 1982, hundreds of civilians seeking shelter in a refugee camp were killed by Lebanese Maronite Christian militia. After the massacre, the United Nations condemned the actions taken by parties in relation to the massacre and labelled the atrocities as genocide.
Following the massacre, the Kahan Commission found Sharon personally responsible, and he was subsequently forced to resign from his post as Defence Minister.
In February of 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected as Prime Minister of Israel with 68 per cent of the vote—a post he would hold until his fateful stroke. During his reign as prime minister, Sharon would make such bold moves as becoming the first Israeli PM to visit India, where he made motions towards closer ties between the two nations.
Peace activist Amiram Goldblum told NPR in an interview that Sharon “built a whole career out of the politics and the culture of hatred. Everything that he looks upon is a battlefield where he has to conquer something or he has to fight someone…”
Ariel Sharon led a life full of battle and war. His final battle was fought within a coma due a stroke which many have attributed to his weight and unhealthy lifestyle.
Weighing approximately 250 pounds at a height of 5’7”, Sharon was an overweight political figure who defied doctors’ and friends’ orders to lose weight. Shortly before the stroke and brain hemorrhage that fell him, Sharon suffered a minor stroke that landed him in hospital. Ariel Sharon returned to work and shortly after was incapacitated by a major stroke. Ehud Olmert became interim prime minister after Sharon’s second stroke.
Jewish burial procedures require that one is buried as soon after death as possible. The body of Ariel Sharon laid in state for a day before he was buried next to his wife at his family’s ranch near Sycamore Farm on January 13.