Monday, January 13, 2014

Ariel Sharon's Funeral

Ariel Sharon's will begin in less than 15 minutes. The news will tell you who will be there, what they will say. I didn't think I'd watch it but as it turns out, I will. When I think of his family, I'm sad for them. For all that he was, his sons lost their father and their children lost a grandfather. On a national level, Sharon has been asleep and largely irrelevant for the last 8 years.

But there is an interesting side issue here. I'd forgotten about it until I saw mention of it in Israel's major news sites. During Cast Lead and again during Operation Pillar of Defense - both times when Elie was in "open fields" and I listened to where every rocket fell, I remember now hearing that some had fallen on Sharon's ranch.

Ariel Sharon's home and his final resting place is within rocket fire from Gaza. In effect, his great idea to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza and destroy the Jewish communities there, endangered over one million Israelis - in Beersheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon. Add in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - both of which were hit during Operation Pillar of Defense, and you up that to at least 2 million. It also endangered his own home.

Israel has issued a stern warning to Gaza - not today, of all days. Don't you dare fire rockets towards this area. Thousands will gather there - members of our government and international guests, the Vice President of the United States, Chief of Staff of the Israeli army...all within rocket fire. I wonder how many eyes will look to the skies and wonder.

For now, as they wait for the guests to take their seats and for Ariel Sharon's casket to arrive, I watch pictures of the crowd - of Tony Blair laughing with others; of Knesset members on their phones looking busy. Of the Chief of Staff walking over and speaking his soldiers.

The news points out how beautiful the area is, Sharon's ranch and the area around it. The screen is divided - showing the honor guard - the casket and police guards as they arrive for the funeral.

The public has been invited - Ariel Sharon's final ceremony will be a national happening. The skies are the deepest of blue with a few clouds here and there...

What will they do if the Color Red siren is sounded indicating an incoming missile? Where will they hide? The people there will try not to think of it...the army will think of nothing else.

The irony of it all is that while Sharon claimed to be concerned with the security of Israel above all else, his funeral takes place under the shadow of Gaza's rockets. It is fitting, is it not? To be fair, we lived under this shadow before Sharon took office, before he betrayed our votes and decided to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza - but still, the shadow is that much larger, the missiles that much closer.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paula, I thought you might be interested in this article on The Times of Israel:
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/an-apology-to-arik/
Like so many others, I was opposed to the disengagement and felt angry and betrayed by Sharon and his government. And yet while I'm not sure I agree with all of the auther's views, the article helped me put some things into perspective...

NormanF said...

Paula,

The am haaretz did not show up at his funeral. Too many people are still far too embittered by the way he used them - and then discarded them.

I guess in the end its fitting his own home didn't get the security he denied to his own fellow countrymen.

In particular, the Gush Katif communities he destroyed with his own hands were davka to the destruction of Yamit - also his doing.

No - I didn't watch and I couldn't mourn for him! When people think of a person and his family as monsters, its hard to muster human sympathy for them.

Which is just well since Sharon and his children had no compassion for the people whose lives he ruined! No wonder few people showed up at the funeral.

It takes a lot to fall that low in the esteem of one's country! And its not my place or yours or any one else's to forgive him.

Its sad but I think the common man in Israel turned their back to him in death so to speak as he turned his back on them in life.

Let his ignoble fate be a lesson to us all!

NormanF said...

Ariel Sharon was controversial - and only exceeded his notoriety in the reaching grasp of his evil deeds!

No wonder the am haaretz didn't turn up at his wake. Too many people are still far too embittered at how he used them - and then discarded them!

Sharon ruined people's lives. In death, he was denied the sense of security he took away from them in life! I think that's somehow fitting.

The Jews he uprooted from the Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron are still homeless and suffering. He and his family never made amends to them.

When people look at you and your family as monsters, its hard to muster human sympathy for your sorrow when you took such a delight in life in inflicting pain and sorrow on others.

That is why I couldn't mourn for Sharon and I shunned watching his funeral. I can't dignify who he ultimately became and lend him respectability for what he did.

For the common man, its clear enough Sharon failed to protect him! They feel no real gratitude as a result. Sharon's family, his loyalists, the national press and the politicians still don't get it!

Israel has to live with the pain of what he did to his fellow Jews and the danger he brought to the country by allowing Hamas to ultimately become entrenched on its doorstep. That is his legacy.

And its something the funeral reminded all of us today of: that Israel still has no real security or peace!

Batya Medad said...

This post has been included in Shiloh Musings: The Ten Commandments' Havel Havelim, Parshat Yitro

Please visit it and the other posts, comment and share, thanks.

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