The 11th Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, died on Shabbat, January 11, after being in a coma for eight years following a massive stroke in 2005. Whether the Spirit of God accomplished something in the soul of this man while he lay these last eight years we do not know now. What we can know is that whether so or not, Arik knows who Jesus Christ is now, and would want all Israel to know while they still can.
Sharon is one of the last of the founding fathers of the modern State of Israel. He was wounded in the Independence War of 1948-49. He was a great military leader and strategist, known for his courage and decision-making, his charisma and attentiveness to others, earning great respect and admiration from those who served with him and under him, especially during 1956 Suez War, the 1967 Six-Day War, and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and from those who were his personal friends. He also irked some of those who had authority over him, both militarily and politically, for acting at times on his own initiative against standing orders. Despite the controversies surrounding him, especially during the first Lebanon War in 1982 and for the 2005 disengagement from Gaza which uprooted Jewish families and their livelihoods, Sharon’s legacy is great by any human measure. Even his large appetite and body size were great, and his humor about that was self-effacing. Sharon was also the architect of the Jewish settlements in what are considered the disputed territories. He devised the military and defensive strategy for fighting terrorism. And it was Sharon who turned from his ideology which so many had followed after his leadership, and authorized the disengagement and forcible evacuation from Gaza.
(Israel has been in a war of attrition for the entirety of her existence as a modern sovereign state. Just as in the days when Joshua led the campaign to take possession of the land from the Canaanites, yet found it humanly impossible to fully do so, so today the people are weary of fighting and suffering and death. While Israel may make an agreement to ‘end hostilities’, those who love death more than we love life will eventually be unable to restrain themselves. Only the personal, bodily return of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah — the Lamb who was slain, the Lord Messiah Yeshua — will bring war to an end, will bring in everlasting righteousness, and lasting peace and security and joy.)
Ariel (meaning ‘lion’, the Hebrew name he chose for himself) held many ministerial positions in his political career, which almost ended following the condemnation against him for indirect responsibility in the massacre of refugees in the Shabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon during the first war in Lebanon in 1980. Yet, being the ‘bulldozer’ that he was known as, and given his inherent popularity and abilities, he ultimately became the leader of the Jewish people through his election as Prime Minister. From this position as a sitting elected leader of his nation he did not move, but was struck down by a second and ultimately mortal stroke while still PM, power being constitutionally transferred to his successor, Ehud Olmert. His impact on very many areas of Israeli life is felt until today. His legacy as a ‘warrior’ fittingly also describes his battle to hang onto life, even in the last days of his comatose life when his vital organs began to give up. Sharon’s inner contradictions, and the incessant targeted attacks against him personally — whether justified or not — are all part of what makes him “Israeli”, a “Jew”, and within him was that undefeatable determination to live and survive, while seeking peace and security for his children and his people.
Sharon considered himself first of all a family man. He said that his strength and inspiration came from his beloved wife, Lily, next to whom he is buried today at their grand private ranch and farm in the western Negev, and from his sons and grandchildren. Sharon was greatly affected by the accidental shooting death of his young son from his first wife, who was killed in a car accident. During the eight years of his coma, his sons were daily concerned with his well-being and provided the best medical treatment possible — not only for a standing Prime Minister, but also for their father.
The efforts taken to keep Ariel Sharon alive, in some small hope that he might revive out of his coma, were taken partly due to the value placed on human life in normative Judaism. The paradox is, that during this same month, the Israeli law-makers approved for the government to provide government-paid abortions for any reason for any woman up to the age of 33.