Life and Times: Ariel Sharon

Take a look back at some of the key moments in Ariel Sharon's military and political career in Israel.

13 photos
In this Sunday Jan. 30, 2005, file photo, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pauses during a cabinet meeting. Sharon, 85, was in a coma since 2006 when a devastating stroke incapacitated him at the height of his political power. His condition took a turn for the worse, hospital officials said in early January. Israeli media reported his death on Jan. 11, 2014. Click through to see photos from Sharon's military and political career.
Sharon joined Jewish guerrillas at age 14 to fight against British rule in Palestine and went on to fight in Israel's war of independence. In 1948 he fought as a junior officer in the battle of Latru, where his platoon was destroyed, and he was seriously injured. Sharon, center, is shown as a young officer surrounded by comrades in Israel, on December 1, 1956, in the wake of the Suez Crisis.
Sharon, by then a major general, is shown with Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin on the Southern Front of the Six Day War in the Sinai Desert, June 16, 1967. Sharon was hailed as a hero in Israel after the Israeli air force destroyed Egypt's warplanes on the first day of the conflict.
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan (L) and then-Maj. Gen. Ariel Sharon, second from right, who suffered a slight head wound, visit a Israeli bridgehead on the West Bank of the Suez Canal with other staff officers, as an Israeli offensive was reportedly under way, Oct. 18, 1973. The rest of the men are unidentified. In July of the same year, Sharon resigned from the military and retired to raise sheep and lambs on a ranch in the northern Negev desert region.
Associated Press
Sharon was recalled to active military service for the Yom Kippur War in October 1973. Later that year Sharon was elected to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) for the Likud. And in 1981, Prime Minister Menahem Begin appointed Sharon minister of defense. He is seen here with U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger (L) as they review the troops at an arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, Nov. 30, 1981. Col. Don Phillips, commander of the troops, is at center.
AP Photo/Bill Foley
As minister of defense, Sharon supervised the evacuation of Israeli settlers in Sinai and the return of the territory to Egypt. He is seen here meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (L) on Jan. 19, 1982 to discuss Israel's withdrawal from the region.
In September 1982 militia members of a right-wing Maronite Lebanese group allied with Israel committed massacres at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Israeli-occupied Beirut. Some of Sharon’s enemies dubbed him the “butcher of Beirut” and widespread public outrage prompted the Israeli government to launch an investigation. A report issued in 1983 criticized Sharon, who was found “indirectly responsible” for the massacres by failing to prevent them. He was declared unfit to continue as defense minister. In February 1983 Sharon resigned. Sharon (foreground) rides an armored personnel carrier on a tour of Israeli units advancing to the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon, June 15, 1982, during Israeli occupation.
Ariel Sharon speaks to reporters outside U.S. Federal Court in New York on Friday, Jan. 19, 1985 after a jury found in his favor on the second major issue, falsity, in Sharon's $50 million libel suit against Time Inc. A federal jury ruled that Time magazine did not knowingly or recklessly publish a false story linking Sharon with a massacre of Palestinians.
AP Photo/Israel Government Press Office
Sharon, who was Foreign Minister at the time, stands near but does not look at, or shake hands with, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at Wye Plantation, Maryland, in this Oct. 21, 1998 photo. Before becoming a candidate, Sharon proudly boasted he had never shaken hands with Arafat, and called the Palestinian leader a "murderer and a liar" in an interview with the New Yorker magazine.
Israeli security men guard opposition leader Ariel Sharon, center, as he leaves the Temple Mount compound in east Jerusalem's Old City, in this Sept. 28, 2000 file photo. Sharon, as an opposition leader, visited the Temple Mount to emphasize Israel's claim on solidarity. Palestinians say the visit triggered the second Intifada. Sharon's supporters said Palestinians had already planned the uprising.
Associated Press
Ariel Sharon, the Likud party leader and front-runner in the 2001 campaign was elected as Israel's prime minister until 2006. As prime minister, he orchestrated a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank.
President Bush shares a laugh with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, June 26, 2001. This was the second meeting between the two leaders since Sharon was elected earlier that year. Bush asked Sharon to help bolster a fragile cease-fire to set the stage for peace negotiations in the Middle East.
A man walks by a billboard with a picture of Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon next to a slogan that reads in Hebrew "a strong leader for peace" outside Tel Aviv, Wednesday Nov. 30, 2005. Ariel Sharon left Likud over opposition to the Gaza withdrawal and formed the centrist party Kadima ahead of elections in March. He fell into coma in January following a massive stroke.
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