One of Israel’s most iconic and controversial figures, Ariel Sharon, died Saturday.
Sharon had been in a coma since suffering a devastating stroke in January, 2006. At the time, he was prime minister and at the height of his political power. His condition had largely been out of the spotlight since, as his two sons cared for him while restricting most access to outsiders.
Sharon’s career stretched across Israel’s 65-year history. As one of Israel’s most famous generals, Sharon was known for bold tactics and an occasional refusal to obey orders.
As a politician, he became known as “the bulldozer” — a man contemptuous of his critics while also capable of getting things done.
Sharon is credited with helping turn the tide of the 1973 Mideast war when Arab armies launched a surprise attack on Israel on the solemn fasting day of Yom Kippur, causing large Israeli casualties.
He led an Israeli force across the Suez Canal, trapping part of the Egyptian army and turning the war in Israel’s favour.
He engineered Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and lost his job as defence minister after an Israeli-allied Christian militia killed hundreds of Palestinians at refugee camps in west Beirut, sparking international outrage.