Ariel Sharon
Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon attends the Foreign Security committee meeting in Jerusalem, November 7, 2005. Photo by Reuters
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Hero or monster? Arrogant or embattled and insecure? Brave warrior or ruthless killer? As Israel buries the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the reactions to his death have been as complicated, fascinating, and difficult to understand as his long and eventful life.

Haaretz shares its uniquely Israeli analysis and insights and opinions on Sharon, from those who have known and watched him over the years.

Photo by GPO

1. “He could be cruel and callous to his enemies on the battlefield and to his rivals in politics, but he was chock-full of personal charm and possessed a wicked sense of humor with which he could beguile friends and foes alike.” Chemi Shalev on the good, the bad and the very, very ugly when it came to Ariel Sharon.

Photo by Reuters

2. Amos Harel describes how Sharon shaped the nature (and the map) of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how the hero of the Jewish settlement movement became their arch enemy

Photo by Shahar Azran

3. Ariel Sharon is irreplaceable as Israel’s leader, writes Yossi Verter, because he was the “only politician who was able not just to foment revolutions and make dramatic decisions, of the kind that uproot mountains and change reality, but also to lead the majority of the public, which believed in him, relied on him, loved him and saw him as the father of the nation.”

Photo by Miki Kratsman

4. He was a great leader, but no role model. Both in the IDF and politics, Amir Oren reminds us, Sharon was the champion of investigations and entanglements.

Photo by Reuters

5. By defying rabbis and settler leaders and withdrawing from Gaza, Sharon sparked a massive ideological crisis within the right-wing Orthodox community, argues Anshel Pfeffer.

Photo by AP

6. How Sharon’s discovery of the limits of power led to his shocking political about-face. Shlomo Avineri contends Gaza was just the first step: had he lived, the West Bank would have been next.

Photo by Reuters

7. When Sharon sank into a coma, so did Israel, says Gideon Levy. Instead of learning a lesson from the Prime Minister’s late-in-life political transformation, the Israeli right returned to the path of an earlier Sharon – brutal, cruel and martial.

Photo by Reuters

8. Why Palestinians so bitterly loathed Ariel Sharon in life and are celebrating his death, by Jack Khoury and the AP.