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SHARON, ARIEL (1928-1914 ).

Israeli soldier and politician, one of Israel’s outstanding generals, who played a critical role in the Sinai Campaign in 1956, and in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. As Begin‘s Minister of Defense, he was condemned for his conduct of the 1982 Lebanon War, and had to resign. He remained in the cabinet, and later became Minister of Housing, and played a major role in settling Russian immigrants. In 1998 Sharon became Foreign Minister and headed the permanent status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. In September 2000 he paid a visit to the Temple Mount, which triggered the al-Aksa Intifada, a wave of Palestinian violence that lasted for several years. In 2001 he was elected Prime Minister. To reduce the violence, he implemented a disengagement plan in the Gaza Strip, removing all Israeli settlers from the Strip. This caused a rift in his Likud party that resulted in the formation of a new party named Kadima. In 2006, as Kadima came to power, Sharon suffered a severe stroke and was replaced as Prime Minister by Ehud Olmert. A controversial leader throughout his career, Sharon became a peacemaker in his latter years.

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