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After Sharon: Too Early to Speculate

Reader comment on item: [After Sharon:] Israeli Politics Will Revert to Its Past

Submitted by Maurice Picow (Israel), Jan 8, 2006 at 11:54

Ariel Sharon is definitely one of a kind. He may someday go down in history as one of modern Israel's greatest leaders - possibly as great as David Ben Gurion. Many have written articles about Sharon, since he suffered this second and most dangerous stroke on Thursday. Too many, sadly, have written what appear to be eulogies - as if 'Arik' is already dead. That's too bad, and unfortunately, another example of an overzealous news media.

If he does survive his 'greatest battle' he will most likely be finished as far as being a political leader is concerned. Just being able to return to his beloved ranch and care for his sheep will be achievement enough, even though he will no longer be the "Good Sheperd" of his extended flock - the citizens of Israel.

At the moment, it's very difficult to speculate as who can fill his shoes. Both Sharon and Shimon Peres are part of Israel's 'old guard' both being involved in Israel's military and political makeup since the creation of the state. Peres is too old, though; and Binyamin Natanyahu, leader of the right wing Likud Party, wants the job. But the question is: does Israel really want Natanyahu?

What will develop in the coming days and weeks will be interesting and possibly profound in the State of Israel's personal and political makeup. The Palestinians in particular, may try to 'test' Israel's interim government to see what reactions would come as a result to planned terror attacks.

A lot of speculation has been in the air regarding why Sharon chose to remain on his ranch after suffering the first stroke in December; and why he was driven 70 kilometers in an ambulance instead of being flown to Jerusalem in a helicopter, a mere ten to fifteen minute flight. Perhaps this explains the kind of man Sharon is: one who wanted his nation to believe he was all right and not seriously ill, as a helicopter flight might have dramatized.

Another Geroge Patton perhaps? Maybe. But one who tempered his mettle in his later years.

History will surely note him this way.

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