Israel set to bury its hero Ariel Sharon

2014-01-13 07:28
Israeli minister Limor Livnat mourns over the coffin of the late former prime minister Ariel Sharon displayed at the Knesset. (Ali Tibbon, AFP)

Israeli minister Limor Livnat mourns over the coffin of the late former prime minister Ariel Sharon displayed at the Knesset. (Ali Tibbon, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israel was on Monday set to bury former prime minister Ariel Sharon, celebrated as a military hero at home but loathed by Palestinians as a bloodthirsty criminal.

Sharon will be laid to rest in a ceremony at his family's Sycamore Ranch in the southern Negev desert, which lies a few miles from the northern border of the Gaza Strip.

Affectionately known as "Arik" among his loyalists, Sharon will be buried next to his second wife, Lily, after a military funeral at 12:00.

The former general will be eulogised by his two sons, Gilad and Omri, and by armed forces chief lieutenant general Benny Gantz.

The white-haired former general had been in a coma since 4 January 2006, following a massive stroke which felled him at the height of his political career. He was 85.

Ahead of his funeral on Monday, Sharon's flag-draped coffin was placed on a black marble plinth in the plaza outside the Knesset, or parliament, for the public to pay their last respects.

Political leaders

A procession from the Knesset to the ranch will pause for a ceremony at a military memorial site in Latrun, west of Jerusalem, where Sharon was wounded in the 1948 war of independence.

With thousands of people expected to attend the funeral, police and the army have beefed up security arrangements.

Channel 2 television said the army had changed the deployment of the Iron Dome aerial defence system batteries in the area to defend against possible rocket attacks from Gaza, which is ruled by the militant group Hamas.

A military spokesperson refused to comment.

Prior to the funeral a state memorial service will be held at the Knesset from 07:30 and will be attended by Israeli and foreign leaders, including US Vice President Joe Biden.

Other foreign dignitaries to attend the Knesset memorial service will include former British premier and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, outgoing Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Some 20 000 people from all walks of life filed past his flag-draped coffin on display at the Knesset on Sunday.

The Bulldozer

Once known chiefly as a ruthless military leader who fought in all of Israel's major wars, Sharon switched to politics in 1973, championing the development of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

He was long considered a pariah for his personal but "indirect" responsibility in the 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinians by Israel's Lebanese Phalangist allies in Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

His early career as a warrior earned him the moniker "The Bulldozer" but most world leaders chose to remember the politician who surprised many by masterminding Israel's withdrawal of 8 000 settlers from Gaza in 2005.

That move was part of a policy of separation from the Palestinians that earned him the hatred of his former nationalist allies and also led to the construction of a sprawling barrier along Israel's border with the West Bank.

Born in British-mandate Palestine on 26 February 1928, to immigrants from Belarus, Sharon was just 17 when he joined the Haganah, the militia that fought in the 1948 war of independence and eventually became the Israeli army.

Read more on:    hamas  |  ariel sharon  |  israel  |  palestine  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
48 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.