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Ariel Sharon

The Eleventh Prime Minister

Ariel Sharon  Ariel Sharon

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ariel (Arik) Sharon, born in Israel in 1928, member of the Kfar Malal village. In the year 1942 Sharon joined the Hagana.

With the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1948, he served as commander of an infantry unit in the Alexandroni Brigade, and later, as head of a platoon. In the war he was injured in Latrun during the battle to free the road to besieged Jerusalem. When the war ended, he was appointed Commander of the Golani Unit.

1950 - Battalion Commanders course.

1951 1952 - Intelligence officer in the Central and Northern Commands.

1952 - Student of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and head of a reserve infantry battalion.

1953 - Ariel Sharon was re-called to full service to found and command Unit 101, established for the purpose of combating the increasing Palestinian terrorism from Judea and Samaria (which were under Jordanian occupation), and from the Gaza Strip (which was under Egyptian occupation) since the War of Independence. Within a short period of time, Unit 101 succeeded in fundamentally changing the level of IDF fighting.

1954 - Unit 101 merged with Paratroopers Battalion 890 and Sharon was appointed Commander. This Battalion carried most of the burden of the retaliation acts against Palestinian terrorism and terrorist bases, and against Arab nations launching or abetting terrorist attacks. During a raid on an Egyptian post near Dir-El-Balah on July 1954, Sharon was injured.

1956 - Sharon was appointed Commander of Paratroopers Brigade 202, which continued, almost unaided, to carry the burden of the retaliation acts. Under his command, the Brigade shaped the IDFs high standards of fighting and norms, for years to come. During Operation Kadesh, Sharon commanded the Paratroopers Battalion which launched the operation, penetrating deep into the home front of the Egyptian army in the Sinai.

1957 - Ariel Sharon studied at the Staff College in the UK.

1958 1962 - Sharon fulfilled a series of posts: Head of the Infantry Corps school, commander of an infantry brigade and commander of an armored brigade. During his service, Sharon completed his studies and received an LLB from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

1964 - Sharon was appointed Chief of the Northern Command Headquarters and served in this capacity during the period of the ongoing conflict with Syria over its attempts to divert the Jordan river sources. The Syrians hostile actions were aimed at preventing Israel from utilizing most of the Jordan River water.

1966 - Sharon was appointed Chief of the General Headquarters Training Department, and promoted to the rank of Major General.

1967 - During the Six-Day War, Maj. Gen. Sharon commanded the Armored Reserve Division 138, which infiltrated the main Egyptian fortification in the areas of Um-Katef and Abu-Agila in the Sinai. Following heavy combat in central Sinai, the division reached the banks of the Suez Canal. The complex infiltration battle, which later became one of the classic military battles, was carried out at night with armored and infantry forces, helicopter paratroopers and auxiliary forces.

1969 - Ariel Sharon was appointed Chief of the Southern Command. As such, he commanded the Suez Canal front in the War of Attrition with Egypt.

1970 - Maj. Gen. Sharon successfully initiated an original military action, which eradicated terrorism in the Arava Sector.

1971 - As Chief of the Southern Command, he successfully initiated and carried out the operation to destroy the PLO terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. This operation brought tranquility and calm to the area, while inflicting minimal injury to civilians.

1973 - (July) Sharon retired from the IDF and returned to his farm in the Negev. He initiated and worked to establish the Likud Party, leading to the political overthrow in 1977.

1973 - (October 6th) 3 months after his release from the IDF, with the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, he was re-called to command Armored Reserve Division 143. After intensive defense battles, the Division, under his command, crossed the Suez Canal in a complex and ruthless night battle which claimed the lives of hundreds of the Division?s soldiers. This battle determined the fate of the war, eventually leading to the peace treaty with Egypt.

1974 - Sharon was first elected to the Knesset and became a member of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. At the end of the year, in order to keep his position as Commander of an armored reserve corps, he resigned from the Knesset and returned to his farm.

1975 - Sharon was appointed Security Adviser to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

1977 - In the first Government formed by Menachem Begin, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture, member of the Ministerial Committee for Defense and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement Affairs. He was one of the pioneers of cooperation with Egypt, in the field of agriculture.

1977 1981 - Sharon initiated and carried out an extensive settlement program in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza strip, including the establishment of lookout settlements in the Galilee and additional communities in the Negev and the Golan Heights. In the framework of this program (as Minister of Defense he continued establishing numerous Nahal communities), and during the course of 7 years, 230 settlements, lookouts and Nahal communities were established. This program constituted an essential element in Israels defense concept and in determining its national strategic goals. The program still serves as a basis for the map outlining Israel?s essential and national interests and a cornerstone in the negotiations with the Palestinians.

1981 - Sharon was appointed Minister of Defense and served in this capacity during the Peace of the Galilee War which brought about the annihilation of the PLO infrastructure in Lebanon and the expulsion of its headquarters from Beirut. He succeeded in bringing about the renewal of diplomatic ties with African nations, which were severed following the Yom Kippur War. Under his initiative, the first Memorandum of Understanding for strategic cooperation with the U.S.A. was signed in November 1981, and Israels security relations with other nations were expanded. He worked toward bringing to Israel thousands of Ethiopian Jews who, after tremendous hardship, succeeded in reaching Sudan.

1984 1990 - He served as Minister of Industry & Trade in the national Likud Government and was a member of the Ministerial Committee for Defense. In 1985 he signed the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.A.

1990 1992 - Served as Minister of Housing & Construction, member of the Ministerial Committee for Defense and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Immigration & Absorption. With the collapse of the USSR and the arrival of waves of Russian immigrants, Sharon initiated and carried out a comprehensive construction program to absorb the vast number of immigrants all over the country. Throughout this period, 144,000 apartments were built and another 22,000 were thoroughly renovated. This construction program was unprecedented in Israels history. His action provided a haven for immigrants and thousands of Israeli families who were living in tents on the streets. In the framework of this program, Sharon established "Yeshuvei Hakohavim".

1992 1996 - Served as member of the Knesset Committee for Defense and Foreign Affairs and member of the Sub-Committee for Intelligence.

1996 - Sharon was appointed Minister of National Infrastructures and a member of the Inner Cabinet. He was Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for the Advancement of the Bedouin Sector. He was appointed by the government to establish joint projects with Jordan, Egypt and the PA, and was active in the political process with the Palestinian Authority.

1997 - Sharon was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, heading the Final Status Agreement talks with the PA. Simultaneously, he continued in his capacity as Minister of National Infrastructures. Immediately after taking office as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he joined Prime Minister Netanyahu to lead the Israeli delegation to the Interim Agreement talks with the Palestinians at Wye Plantation. In this framework, Sharon was extremely influential in conducting the negotiations. He was one of the architects of the outline and contents, determining the principle of reciprocity in the fulfillment of Palestinian commitments under the agreement signed in Washington at the end of October 1998. During his term as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he worked tirelessly to advance the peace process, through meetings with heads of the US Administration and the EU, Palestinian leaders and Arab government officials. He acted primarily to initiate and advance regional economic projects, the major of which was the "Flag Project" for sea water desalination a comprehensive project, internationally funded, seeking a long-term solution to the regional water crisis and the consolidation of peaceful relation between Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians and other elements in the Middle East. This project elicited great interest and favorable responses from the international community and the Arab world.

1999 - (May) Following the political overthrow and the election of Ehud Barak as Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon was persuaded by fellow ministers and members of the Likud Faction to serve as temporary Chairman of the movement in order to unite and rehabilitate the Likud and prepare it for victory in the next election.

1999 - (September) Elected Chairman of the Likud.

2001 - (March) Sworn in as Prime Minister of Israel in the 15th Knesset, heading a national unity Government. Ariel Sharon published numerous books and articles in Israel and abroad. He lives with his family on his agricultural farm in the Negev.
In a special election held February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister. He presented his government to the Knesset on March 7, 2001. After calling early elections to the 16th Knesset, which were held on January 28, 2003, Ariel Sharon was charged by the president with the task of forming a government and presented his new government to the Knesset on February 27, 2003.

Sharon is widowed and has two sons.