48 Facts About Ariel Sharon

1. In 2005, Ariel Sharon broke with the Likud Party to form a new centrist political group, known as the Kadima Party.

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2. Ariel Sharon authorized the construction of protective barriers in certain areas, including the West Bank.

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3. In 1999, Ariel Sharon became the chairman of the Likud Party.

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4. In 1982, Ariel Sharon launched a controversial and much-contested invasion of Lebanon.

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5. Ariel Sharon led the operation to squash the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Gaza Strip in 1971.

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6. In 1953, Ariel Sharon created and ran an elite military group known as Unit 101.

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7. Ariel Sharon led an infantry company and was wounded in the famed battle for Latrun, a fortress on the road to Jerusalem.

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8. Ariel Sharon married Margalit Zimmerman in 1953, and the couple had one child, a son Gur.

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9. Ariel Sharon formed, Shlomzion in 1977 which won two seats in Parliament in the 1977 election which saw the Likud alliance headed by Begin take control.

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10. Ariel Sharon was a member of the Liberal Party and was involved in working with the Herut Party under Menachem Begin to form the Likud political alliance.

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11. Ariel Sharon commanded an armored division and his conduct resulted in him becoming a military hero in Israel and a worldwide figure.

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12. At the age of fourteen, Ariel Sharon became a member of the Haganah, the Zionist militia.

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13. Ariel Sharon studied history at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and at the same time worked as an intelligence officer.

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14. Ariel Sharon was an Israeli politician and general who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Israel until he was incapacitated by a stroke.

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15. Ariel Sharon was the last of the founding generation of Israel's leaders, and even his opponents recognized his stature.

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16. Ariel Sharon believed passionately in "the birthright of the Jewish people to have an independent Jewish state in the homeland of the Jewish people.

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17. Ariel Sharon was the principal architect of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, a war that led to the removal from Lebanon of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its armed offshoots.

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18. In 1948, Ariel Sharon fought as a junior officer in the battle of Latrun; when Israeli forces there were routed by Jordanian troops, Sharon's platoon was destroyed, and he was seriously injured.

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19. Ariel Sharon is a small city with a university, but since it is 10 miles from the Green Line, the Palestinians and their supporters say it must be abandoned to create a contiguous state alongside Israel.

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20. Ariel Sharon is running against Lior Katsav, 49, a lawyer who was elected in 1998 as mayor of the city of Kiryat Malachi, making him the youngest mayor in the country.

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21. Ariel Sharon was married twice, to two sisters, Margalit and Lily Zimmerman, who were from Romania.

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22. Ariel Sharon was hospitalized on December 18, 2005, after suffering a minor ischemic stroke.

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23. Ariel Sharon was a daily consumer of cigars and luxury foods.

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24. Ariel Sharon would often joke about his love of food and expansive girth.

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25. On November 21, 2005, Ariel Sharon resigned as head of Likud, and dissolved parliament to form a new centrist party called Kadima.

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26. In January 2005, Ariel Sharon formed a national unity government that included representatives of Likud, Labor, and Meimad and Degel HaTorah as "out-of-government" supporters without any seats in the government.

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27. On December 1, 2004, Ariel Sharon dismissed five ministers from the Shinui party for voting against the government's 2005 budget.

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28. In May 2003, Ariel Sharon endorsed the Road Map for Peace put forth by the United States, European Union, and Russia, which opened a dialogue with Mahmud Abbas, and announced his commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state in the future.

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29. In September 2001, Ariel Sharon stated for the first time that Palestinians should have the right to establish their own land west of the Jordan River.

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30. On July 20, 2004, Ariel Sharon called on French Jews to emigrate from France to Israel immediately, in light of an increase in antisemitism in France.

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31. In September 2003, Ariel Sharon became the first prime minister of Israel to visit India, saying that Israel regarded India as one of the most important countries in the world.

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32. Ariel Sharon declared that the complex would remain under perpetual Israeli control.

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33. Ariel Sharon said prior to the current Yugoslav campaign against Kosovo Albanians, Serbians were the targets of attacks in the Kosovo province.

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34. Ariel Sharon criticised the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 as an act of "brutal interventionism".

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35. Ariel Sharon initially refused to resign as defense minister, and Begin refused to fire him.

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36. Ariel Sharon intended the operation to eradicate the PLO from its state within a state inside Lebanon, but the war is primarily remembered for the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

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37. Ariel Sharon promised that the relationship between Israel and South Africa would continue to deepen as they work to "ensure the National Defense of both our countries".

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38. Ariel Sharon doubled the number of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Gaza Strip during his tenure.

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39. Ariel Sharon used his position to encourage the establishment of a network of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories to prevent the possibility of Palestinian Arabs' return to these territories.

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40. Ariel Sharon planned his return to politics for the 1977 elections; first, he tried to return to the Likud and replace Menachem Begin at the head of the party.

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41. From June 1975 to March 1976, Ariel Sharon was a special aide to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

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42. Ariel Sharon sent two infantry companies, a mortar battery and some AMX-13 tanks under the command of Mordechai Gur into the Heitan Defile on the afternoon of October 31, 1956.

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43. Ariel Sharon sent his lightly armed paratroopers against dug-in Egyptians supported by aircraft, tanks and heavy artillery.

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44. Ariel Sharon had assaulted Themed in a dawn attack, and had stormed the town with his armor through the Themed Gap.

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45. Ariel Sharon commanded Unit 202 during the 1956 Suez War (the British "Operation Musketeer"), leading the troop to take the ground east of the Sinai's Mitla Pass and eventually the pass itself against the advice of superiors, suffering heavy Israeli casualties in the process.

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46. In September 1949, Ariel Sharon was promoted to company commander and in 1950 to intelligence officer for Central Command.

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47. Ariel Sharon became the leader of the Likud in 2000, and served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

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48. Ariel Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948.

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