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Ariel “Arik” Sharon (Scheinerman) suffered a massive stroke on this date in 2006 while serving as Israel’s 11th prime minister. Sharon, who remained in a “persistent vegetative state” until his death on January 11, 2014, had engineered Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which it had occupied since 1967, and launched the Kadima party as a mainstream alternative to Likud and Labor. His long career included several military atrocities as well as military heroics, commitment to a “Greater Israel” through settlement expansion and land occupation, a number of financial scandals, and lifelong enforcement of the sentiment that, he reported, David Ben-Gurion shared with him after Sharon led the 1953 Qibya reprisal massacre of 69 West Bank Palestinians: “It doesn’t matter what the world says about Israel . . . The only thing that matters is that we can exist here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the Arabs that there is a high price to pay for murdering Jews, we won’t survive.”
“We’ll hear no more of that nonsense about the unique Jewish morality, the moral lessons of the Holocaust or about the Jews who were supposed to have emerged from the gas chambers pure and virtuous. No more of that. . . . Good riddance.” —Ariel Sharon