Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke in January 2006 came about because of his role in disengagement from Gaza, according to a campaign to be launched on December 31 by an extreme right-wing religious party, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu.
The campaign, also sponsored by the organization Hamateh Lehatzalat Ha'am Hayehudi, is to be launched on the sixth anniversary of Sharon's stroke according to the Hebrew calendar. It will hang posters in synagogues and publish advertisements in the party's pamphlet, also called Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, using quotes by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef about the causes of Sharon's condition.
In so doing, the group says it seeks to warn the current government against evacuating settlements.
One of Yosef's quotes about Sharon states: "How cruel is this evil man, for doing things like this ... God will strike him so he will never rise again."
Yosef also said: "And those who carry out his bidding - their time will come."
Eretz Yisrael Shelanu's chairman, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo, said: "The campaign is a warning to politicians and the prime minister not to be dragged into adventures like Sharon was. The price they will pay will be too heavy to bear."
The director general of the movement, Shai Gefen, says the campaign is not against Sharon. "This is about learning lessons. We wish everyone strong health and see it as our duty to warn the leaders that those who harm the land of Israel may be harmed. It's a fact that all the leaders of the disengagement - the police commissioner, the chief of staff, senior ministers, the president, [former Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert ... the curse of disengagement struck them all."
When asked whether such a campaign might hurt the Sharon family's feelings, Gefen said, "Sharon hurt the feelings of thousands of families that, to this day, are sitting in prefabricated homes. People went into mental hospitals, families collapsed, people in the south were hit by missiles because of what Sharon did."
Shas MK Nissim Zeev said his party was disgusted by the campaign, noting: "This is a cynical, even evil, use of Ariel Sharon's condition on his deathbed. He is sick and we all pray for his recovery, including Rabbi Ovadia. After all, Sharon was a hero and sacrificed himself for the people of Israel."
In the last elections, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu joined the National Union list. Its representative in the National Union Knesset faction is Michael Ben Ari.
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