Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, dies at 85

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ariel Sharon in 2001.
Image: US Department of Defense.

Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister of Israel, died today at the Sheba Medical Center just outside Tel Aviv after his conditioned worsened significantly over the last few days. Sharon had been in a coma since suffering a stroke in January 2006.

Before becoming a politician, Sharon served in the army, having joined the Haganah at age fourteen — the Jewish paramilitary operating in the British Mandate of Palestine before the founding of the State of Israel.

Sharon was elected to the Knesset in 1973, then took a number of ministerial roles in the government including as a security adviser to Yitzhak Rabin, terms as minister of agriculture, defence, trade and industry, construction and housing, and national infrastructure. He became Foreign Minister in 1998 and Prime Minister in 2001. In 2005, Sharon left the Likud Party to form Kadima and pursued a policy of unilateral disengagement.

Sharon was married twice: his first wife Margalit died in 1962, his second wife Lily died in 2000. He is survived by two sons.