Residents of the city of Kiryat Ono in central Israel have expressed their opposition to the mayor’s initiative to name a new residential neighborhood after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Local politicians who oppose the move have written a letter to the mayor, Yossi Nishri, in which they point out that Sharon caused a lot of damage to the State of Israel and as such, is not fit to have a neighborhood named after him.
Sharon was behind the 2005 disengagement plan in which 8,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Gush Katif. After they were expelled from their homes, the residents were forced to move into temporary caravans, and many of them have lived in those caravans ever since. Only recently have some of them finally settled down in new homes.
The government claimed that leaving Gush Katif would result in peace and quiet, but in fact the opposite has occurred. Rocket and missile attacks from Gaza-based terrorists have continued despite the expulsion.
Sharon himself suffered a stroke in 2006 which left him in a coma, but his son Gilad recently claimed that his father is occasionally awake and responds to speech.
“He looks at me and moves fingers when I ask him to,” Gilad said. “I am sure he hears me.”
Rafi Garges, who chairs the local Likud branch in Kiryat Ono, told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that Sharon does not deserve to be rewarded for his actions and that this goes beyond the expulsion from Gush Katif.
“With all due respect, Ariel Sharon was a good soldier and did quite a bit of good, but also caused damage,” Garges said. “He is a controversial personality and not everyone agrees with him.”
“The majority of Kiryat Ono’s residents oppose the move because of Sharon’s personality, and it’s not only because he expelled people from Gush Katif and caused extensive damage to the State, but also because of his behavior in the Likud,” he added. “He tried to defeat Netanyahu using manipulations. He signed leftists to the Likud when it was clear that they would leave the party after the election. A controversial man such as him does not deserve to have a neighborhood named after him.”
Garges expressed hope that the public outcry against the mayor’s plan will cause its cancellation.
“The mayor has done many good things, but in this case he is wrong,” he said. “Even the city council members agree with me. The plan is currently on the shelf and we’re hoping it will be taken off the agenda.”
The Kiryat Ono municipality said in response to Garges, “The issue of commemorating individuals for their efforts on behalf of Israel is well known, accepted and worthy, and we know how to honor the actions of those who were elected to lead the people. We do not know where Mr. Garges was when Menachem Begin signed a peace treaty with Egypt and where he was when Begin evacuated communities in the Sinai to reach that peace agreement.”
“Ariel Sharon served the State of Israel for many years, both in the IDF and as the Likud Party’s prime minister,” the city added. “Mr. Garges also voted for him, so his objection is surprising.”