'Everyone acknowledged strength of Sharon's leadership'

President and Mrs. Rivlin participate in memorial ceremony for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his wife Lily.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Memorial for Ariel Sharon
Memorial for Ariel Sharon
Haim Zach, GPO

Israeli President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin and his wife Nechama participated on Friday in the memorial ceremony for former Prime Minister Ariel (Arik) Sharon.

The ceremony marks five years since his passing, and 19 years since his wife Lily's. During the ceremony, Rivlin, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen (res) Gadi Eizenkot and the couple's Gilad Sharon delivered eulogies.

In his remarks, Rivlin said, "There were those who worshiped Arik, and those who were scared of him, but everyone acknowledged the strength of his leadership. Even those who disagreed with him could not fail to listen to him and believe him. He had a wonderful sense of how to be at the most strategic place in the eye of the storm. He never fought on the flanks – he was always there in the middle, calling out 'follow me' and taking companies, battalions, brigades, whole armies and the whole people with him with supreme strength."

"Arik’s leadership was not just expressed on the battlefield, but also in civilian life. Arik called out 'follow me' when he formed the Likud, when he built settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, when he made something out of nothing, found solutions for housing immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and when he led Operation Defensive Shield.

"He called out 'follow me' when he decided to perform a u-turn, to go against what he had built, to break up the Likud and form Kadima and evacuate the settlements of Gaza in the disengagement plan. That time, the last time, I did not follow him. Our paths diverged. Arik knew to respect my decision. The regular Friday phone call reminded Nechama, me and him that the main point was and always will be the State of Israel, that it succeed and flourish and the security and peace of its citizens. That was his mission and that was mission, even if our paths split.

"One cannot talk about Arik without remembering Lily. Lily, his love and his confidante. A place to rest his head, an anchor and a comrade. Lily, who was by his side in good times and bad. Lily, who was with him through all the crises with love, concern, unending devotion and sometimes with her infectious laugh, a laugh that was impossible to stop."

Rivlin concluded, "Whoever knew Arik will never forget him. But time takes its toll and for future generations we must tell his story and perhaps the time has come to work towards establishing a fitting memorial for Ariel Sharon – a hero of Israel, eleventh prime minister, commander, soldier and man. May his memory be a blessing."

Pres. Rivlin at the memorial ceremony Haim Zach (GPO)
Pres. Rivlin at the memorial ceremony Haim Zach (GPO)
Pres. Rivlin at the memorial ceremony Haim Zach (GPO)
Pres. Rivlin at the memorial ceremony Haim Zach (GPO)
Pres. Rivlin at the memorial ceremony Haim Zach (GPO)
Pres. Rivlin at the memorial ceremony Haim Zach (GPO)




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