(JNS.org) Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was laid to rest with full military and state honors near his ranch in the Negev on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who both served in Sharon’s cabinet and had Sharon serve in his cabinet during his first stint as prime minister, called Sharon “one of the greatest generals that the Jewish people and the Israel Defense Forces had ever known.”
Netanyahu added that Sharon didn’t always agree with Sharon politically, but respected him.
“We worked together for Israel’s security and economy,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli President Shimon Peres, a long-time political rival of Sharon who later became his close friend and political ally, eulogized Sharon as a “friend, leader, and general.”
“Arik was a man of the land, and he protected this land like a lion, and he became a military legend in his lifetime,” Peres said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Sharon a “historic leader” and praised his passion for the wellbeing of Israel and the Jewish people.
“Like all historic leaders, he had a North Star that guided him. The North Star which he never—in my observation—deviated from. His north star was the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” said Biden.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also praised Sharon for his push for Israeli-Arab peace.
“The same iron determination he took to the field of war he took to the chamber of diplomacy,” Blair said. “When that meant fighting he fought, when that meant making peace he sought peace.”