Major General Ariel Sharon, 11th Prime Minister of the State of Israel, was born in Kfar Malal on February 26, 1928 and joined the Haganah at age 14. In May 1948, while serving as a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade during the War of Independence, Sharon was severely wounded in the Battle of Latrun as he led the offensive that attempted to open the way to the besieged city of Jerusalem.
In August 1953, Ariel Sharon established Unit 101 and served as its commander. This elite unit worked against Palestinian terrorism behind enemy lines. Although Unit 101 only operated for five months and consisted of no more than 50 combat soldiers, it dramatically altered the IDF's capabilities and achievements. The fighting spirit that Sharon brought to the unit became the IDF's winning offensive combat doctrine and the basis for the establishment of the military's special forces units.
In January 1954, he was made Commander of the Paratroopers Battalion, which became a brigade under his command, and implemented virtually all of the IDF's retaliation operations. In the 1956 Suez War, Paratroopers Battalion 890 parachuted into Egypt near the Mitla Pass. Under Sharon's command, the rest of the brigade traversed more than 200 kms inside Egyptian territory, capturing Egyptian posts along the way, and eventually met up with the battalion that had parachuted.
In 1966, Sharon was promoted to the rank of major general. During the Six Day War he commanded Division 38, which broke through Egypt's key fortified line in the Sinai. At the end of the war Sharon was appointed as Commander of the Sinai.
In December 1969, Sharon was appointed as Commander of the Southern Command. One of the most difficult tasks assigned to him was to rid the Gaza strip of terrorism. It took seven months of intense activity, but from February 1972 onward, the area was quiet for ten years.
In July 1973, Ariel Sharon left the military and within a short period of time founded the Likud political party. During the Yom Kippur War, on the night of October 15-16 1973 the reserve division he commanded crossed the Suez Canal and led the way to victory over the Egyptians.
After the war Sharon was promoted to the position of Reserve Corps Commander.
At the behest of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Sharon was appointed as the Prime Minister's Military Affairs Advisor in 1975. He filled this post until 1976.
In 1977, Sharon was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Shlomzion party, which he founded, and was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Chairman of the Ministers' Committee on Settlement Affairs in Prime Minister Menachem Begin's first government. Within the framework of this position he established more than 100 towns
in the Golan, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Negev and the Arava.
In June 1981, he was appointed as the Minister of Defense in Begin's second government. A year later Israel entered into the Lebanon War. Within a week the IDF reached the Beirut-Damascus road, thwarted the terrorists and the Syrian army posts where the terrorists hid, removing the threat of rockets toward northern Israel. The expulsion of 15,000 men from Beirut, 9,000 terrorists and over 6,000 Syrian soldiers began eleven weeks after the glory of the operation. The reign of PLO terror in Lebanon was wiped out and the towns of northern Israel enjoyed years of quiet. In February 1983 Sharon was forced to resign his position as Minster of Defense following the massacre of Muslims by Christian Phalanges in the Sabra and Shatila neighborhoods of Beirut.
Later Sharon served as Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister of Housing Construction and Minister of National Infrastructure. In 1988 he was also appointed to the position of Foreign Minister. In February 2001, he was elected Prime Minister for the first time by a large margin. Sharon led the fight against rampant terrorism, Operation Defensive Shield and construction of the separation fence. After his second overwhelming election victory in January 2003, he initiated the plan for unilateral disengagement from Gaza. As Prime Minister, Sharon enjoyed great public support. Terrorism had been eradicated, the economy was growing and Israel gained international prestige.
On January 4, 2006 Sharon suffered a stroke and never regained consciousness.
On January 11, 2014 Ariel Sharon passed away and was buried on a hillside near his home in Havat Shikmim.