President Herzog (left) at memorial ceremony
President Herzog (left) at memorial ceremonyצילום: קובי גדעון/ לע"מ

President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog participated today in a memorial for the late former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, marking eight years since his passing, and his wife Lily, 22 years after her passing.

Herzog opened his remarks by saying: “The history of the State of Israel reserves a place of honor for stories of the heroism and military insight of its finest commanders in various battles. It reserves no less an important spot for Israel’s statesmen—those who had the wisdom during their terms to make transformative decisions, bold choices, some of which were controversial, which sometimes involved a considerable personal cost. But there were few figures in Israeli history who managed to leave a massive imprint both on the battlefield and on the field of diplomacy and public life.”

Herzog continued: “Ariel Sharon was one of those precious few, the leaders and commanders whose mark is still visible and remembered years after their passing. Just as nobody could ignore him during his lifetime, so too after his passing, nobody can ignore his endeavors and contributions, which can be seen in every clod of the soil of our land and in every fiber of our country. The core element of Sharon’s personality, which made him a commander and leader who would be remembered for generations, was undoubtedly the fact that he was a fighter.

“Since the first time he held a weapon in his youth, and until his last days in this good land, Arik was a fighter from head to toe. Years ago, when Arik was asked to describe the source of his strength and might, he chose the following words, and I quote: ‘My strength never came from the political echelons. It came from my family. It came from the fields and flowers and from everything I see there. My strength came from there.’ And therefore, it was to the land that he loved so dearly and knew so well, surrounded by flowers and fields that were basic parts of his life, next to his beloved wife Lily, the anchor of his life, that Arik returned eight years ago. Givat Kalaniot, the Hill of Anemones, embraced him into its soil, and the warrior’s journey came to its final destination.”

President Isaac Herzog concluded by saying: “We shall all remember his unique character, cherish his many years of contributions and work, and salute a leader and commander who was there for all of us. May the memory of Ariel Sharon and his wife Lily be a blessing and be guarded in our hearts forevermore.”