Saturday, January 11, 2014


The man entered life as a giant, he left it in total discretion.  He was returned to the earth, on his farm, which meant so much for a statesman who seldom received his due for also having a heart.
His legacy will always be controversial but he belongs to a Pantheon of Israeli visionaries, together with the likes of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Menahem Begin and Yithzhak Rabin.  

As a military man he participated in and oversaw Israel's victories in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973.
He was minister of defense during the Lebanon war where his tenure came under scrutiny, after the Kahan Commission found responsibility in the massacre by Lebanese militias of the refugee camps in Sabra and Sathila. This tragic event which indicted an involvement (direct or by-proxy) forced his resignation. His later return to power could never obliterate this "Richard III" stain which stuck to the end as a malediction, deserved or not. 

Nevertheless as Prime Minister, after his comeback, he oversaw the Gaza disengagement.
His disagreements with his party, the Likud, multiplied and he founded the Kadima party. He is supposed to have considered getting out of most of the West Bank. Nobody will know for sure.
Unfortunately, allegations of corruption surfaced which certainly got the best of his stamina and might have let to his fatal illness.  Notwithstanding the not uncertain ambiguities, he ranks as one of the greatest Israeli  leaders of all time.  A park  near Tel Aviv (three times the size of Central Park) will forever commemorate a man who did not have to climb a ladder to have a vision.

It is impossible to predict what he might have done if he had been able to continue as P.M. but I wouldn't exclude that he may have become "The Peacemaker", on his own terms and considering that Palestinians in the West Bank are difficult partners, more emotional than rational.  After all, he referred to places in Israel by their original Arabic names, which could be considered a Freudian slip.  Somehow his pride and ego made him sometimes oblivious of the cost of the political mortgage which Israel has to pay because of the chosen political path. He could be arrogant and unlikeable, but he was never petty.  He knew that history is not an easy bedfellow and he might have concluded, rightly so, that if the bed is too small it might be better to split.

I fully understand that the man represents a red flag to most Arabs and that he can be blamed for insensitivity, but in the end there was also a conduct of honour in the making.  He was hard to like but he seemed to have found some empathy which had stayed buried for too long under the rubble of his own (as well of other's) making. The frailty of the body deprived him of his possible ultimate historic redemption.

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