Israel’s 11th Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon was eulogized Monday as “real leader”, a fighter and a “pragmatic politician.”
Speaking during the 90-minute memorial in front of the Knesset parliament building, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said the former Israeli leader always acted in confidence even though some of his actions were controversial. Biden said “he seemed never in doubt” and called him a “complex man.”
The 85-year-old Sharon passed away Saturday after eight years of being in a coma from a stroke, which cut short his premiership. Many analysts say that he was close to ending the Israeli-Palestine conflict while some criticize him for aggressively using the military to occupy Palestinian territory.
Sharon was also remembered as a brave and bold leader at the service attended by family, friends, world leaders and members of parliament. Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden were among the attendees.
Israeli President, Shimon Peres paid tribute to Sharon saying he remembered Mr. Sharon in the early 1950s when Sharon was a young man with big ideas about the state’s defense. He described him as the “the shoulder on whom Israel’s security rested.” Peres said Sharon defended and protected Israel as a lion.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also echoed similar sentiments, saying Sharon always understood that when it came to issues of state security, Israel must stand firm.
Mr. Netanyahu used the opportunity to mention Israel’s stand against Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. He said that any agreement made between the two nations must include the best interest of Israel's security.
“The state of Israel will continue to steer toward peace, while protecting our security.” said Mr. Netanyahu.
Ariel Sharon was buried next to Lily Sharon, his second wife, who died of cancer in 2000.
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