Israel has always considered Sharon a war hero. His record is an amazing one, serving Israel for 53 years as a soldier and politician. He is the last survivor of a generation of Israel’s founding fighters, the men who fought and commanded during the 1948 War of Independence.
His career started early, when as a mere 14-year-old, he joined the Haganah (Jewish underground defense force) in 1942. He served as battalion commander during the War of Independence, led a paratrooper brigade in the 1956 Sinai War, commanded an armored division on the Egyptian front during the 1967 Yom Kippur War, and was a Major-General during the Sinai counter-offensive in 1973.
He has been lauded as a bold and brilliant tactician in war and earned the title of “Bulldozer” for his tough methods. He has also been called the father of counter-terrorism. In 1953, he headed Commando Unit 101, which specialized in counter-terror strikes behind enemy lines and invented counter-terror methods still used today.
His political career was no less distinguished. He was first voted into the Knesset in 1974 and served in succeeding years in the following capacities: advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1975–76), Minister of Agriculture (1977–81), Minister of Defense (1981–83), Minister of Housing and Construction (1990–92), National Infrastructure Minister (1996), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997), Chairman of the Likud Party, which he formed in 1973 (1999), and Prime Minister (2001–2006).
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