January 13, 2014
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ariel (Arik) Sharon at the age of 85, the pro-American former Israeli prime minister, a larger-than-life figure who as a soldier, politician and statesman was daring, dogged and indefatigable in battle and in peace on behalf of security of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, a stroke struck him down in 2006 at the height of his political power. As prime minister in 2001-2006, he forged a particularly close relationship with U.S. President George W. Bush that served American and Israeli interests.
Favored by Israel's founding premier, David Ben-Gurion, and a colleague of current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sharon's long life and career spanned the whole history of the State of Israel, and he engaged in some capacity in virtually all the Jewish state's major efforts in war and peace since even before its founding. To cite just a few of his accomplishments: as a military commander, he helped turned the tide of the Yom Kippur War; as a minister of housing, he helped absorb almost one million Soviet Jews; and as prime minister, he put down the wave of Palestinian terror known as the Second Intifada.
Brilliant, serious and often prescient, but sometimes overcome by significant lapses of judgment, Sharon did not shirk challenges, risks or controversy but with creativity, agility and great fortitude he confronted them head on to achieve personal and national aims. He realized immense triumphs as well as large setbacks, befitting a man of his stature who sought to shape events and achieve great things.
May the United States and Israel honor his memory by ever strengthening their close bilateral ties and be daring in the pursuit of security for both nations.