New York, NY, January 11, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply saddened at the passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering statesman and military veteran whose courageous leadership earned him the support and respect of a wide swath of the Israeli public and the international community.
Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
We are deeply saddened at the loss of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. While he has just passed away, it has truly been eight years since we lost this great statesman and friend. It was a great tragedy on so many levels -- both a personal one for him and his family, and a national one for the people of Israel -- that Prime Minister Sharon in his final years suffered from the effects of a debilitating stroke that took away the great strength and vitality that was a defining part of his being.
A great military leader who fought in Israel’s five wars, Mr. Sharon capped his career by becoming a true statesman and a prime minister who earned the support of a wide swath of the Israeli public and the international community.
In the wake of the Second Intifada, Mr. Sharon fulfilled the desire of the majority of the Israeli people for a leader who gave them both a sense of security and hope for peace. Never giving in to terrorism or ceasing his demand that Palestinian leaders had to assume responsibility for preventing terrorism, Mr. Sharon also understood that Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy required a courageous unilateral initiative to permanently disengage both troops and settlements from the Gaza Strip. This was a difficult and defining moment in Israel’s history.
Through his steadfast leadership, and his courageous advocacy of positions and policies that were often controversial yet always with Israel’s best interests at heart, Prime Minister Sharon helped his people emerge from a difficult period of suicide bombings and violence by providing pragmatic responses to the duel challenges of terrorism and security.
His legacy is a more secure State of Israel, safe on its borders and resolved to put an end to the campaign of Palestinian terrorism once and for all. It is not only Israel, but the Jewish people, the U.S., and the international community who have lost a towering figure who offered hope to his people and the region.