Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ariel Sharon, 1928-2014, Israel's Eleventh Prime Minister: Three Recordings from his Military Career

On January 11, 2014, Ariel "Arik" Sharon passed away, after being in a coma for eight years. Sharon was Israel's eleventh prime minister, a government minister, a Knesset member representing the Likud, and the founder and leader of the Kadima party, Before entering politics he was a general in the IDF, one of the commanders of the paratroopers unit, founder of the 101 special unit and OC Southern Command.
OC Southern Command Sharon gives an explanation to former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on a visit to the lines near the Suez Canal, 27 January 1971. (Photograph: IDF Spokesman, Government Press Office)
In memory of Sharon, the Israel State Archives presents here two video clips and one audio recording from the period of his service in the Southern Command. In December 1969, Sharon was appointed to command Israel's southern front, at the height of the War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt on the Suez Canal. Sharon introduced more dynamic defensive methods, rather than the static approach represented by the Bar Lev line of outposts along the Canal. In August 1970, a ceasefire was reached between Israel and Egypt. In 1971, Sharon carried out a major operation against terrorism in the Gaza Strip, using aggressive methods and harsh measures which aroused considerable criticism. He succeeded in almost entirely eradicating the terrorists and bringing peace and quiet to the Strip. Sharon remained in Southern Command until July 1973, when he was replaced by Shmuel Gorodish Gonen.

The first films shows a visit to an outpost on the Suez Canal by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan accompanied by Maj. General Sharon in August 1971:

The second clip is an audio recording in Hebrew of commanders in the Six Day War talking about their experiences and the reasons for the victory, among them Arik Sharon, then a division commander (June 1967):

The final recording shows OC Southern Command Sharon visiting a Bedouin encampment, accompanied by Gorodish and other officers, and awarding a war ribbon to one of the inhabitants (November 1972):

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