/ AJT /
Ariel (‘Arik’) Sharon was born in 1928 in Kfar Malal. Sharon joined the Haganah at the age of 14 and served in the IDF for more than 25 years, retiring with the rank of Major-General. He also earned an LL.B. law degree from Hebrew University in 1962. He resigned from the army in 1973, but was recalled to active military service in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War to command an armored division. He led the crossing of the Suez Canal, which brought about victory in the war and eventual peace with Egypt. Sharon was elected to the Knesset in December 1973, but resigned a year later, serving as security adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1975-76). He was again elected to the Knesset in 1977 on the Shlomzion ticket. In 1981 Sharon was appointed Defense Minister, and he brought about the first strategic cooperation agreement with the U.S. and widened defense ties between Israel and many nations. He also helped bring thousands of Jews from Ethiopia through Sudan. In 1998, Sharon was appointed Foreign Minister and headed the permanent status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Following the election of Ehud Barak as Prime Minister in May 1999, Sharon was called upon to become interim Likud party leader, and in September 1999 was elected Chairman of the Likud. He served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. On Feb. 6, 2001, Sharon was elected Prime Minister. On Jan. 4, 2006, after forming a new party, Kadima, in anticipation of elections to the 17th Knesset, Prime Minister Sharon suffered a brain hemorrhage and Ehud Olmert was designated Acting Prime Minister. Sharon never regained consciousness and passed away eight years later, on Jan. 11, 2014. Sharon was widowed and is survived by two sons, Omri and Gilad.