kids encyclopedia robot

Ariel Sharon facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon Headshot.jpg
Sharon in 2002
11th Prime Minister of Israel
In office
7 March 2001 – 14 April 2006
President Moshe Katsav
Deputy Ehud Olmert
Preceded by Ehud Barak
Succeeded by Ehud Olmert
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 October 1998 – 6 June 1999
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by David Levy
Succeeded by David Levy
Minister of Energy and Water Resources
In office
8 July 1996 – 6 July 1999
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Yitzhak Levy
Succeeded by Eli Suissa
Minister of Housing and Construction
In office
11 June 1990 – 13 July 1992
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
Preceded by David Levy
Succeeded by Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour
In office
13 September 1984 – 20 February 1990
Prime Minister
Preceded by Gideon Patt
Succeeded by Moshe Nissim
Minister of Defense
In office
5 August 1981 – 14 February 1983
Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Preceded by Menachem Begin
Succeeded by Menachem Begin
Minister of Agriculture
In office
20 June 1977 – 5 August 1981
Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Preceded by Aharon Uzan
Succeeded by Simha Erlich
Personal details
Ariel Scheinermann

(1928-02-26)26 February 1928
Kfar Malal, Mandatory Palestine
Died 11 January 2014(2014-01-11) (aged 85)
Ramat Gan, Israel
Political party
  • Liberal (1973–1974)
  • Shlomtzion (1977)
  • Likud (1977–2005)
  • Kadima (2005–2014)
Margalit Zimmerman
(m. 1953; died 1962)
Lily Zimmerman
(m. 1963; died 2000)
Children 3
Alma mater
Profession Military officer
Military service
Allegiance Israel
  • Haganah
  • Israeli Defence Forces
Years of service 1948–1974
Rank Aluf (Major general)
  • Southern Command
  • Paratroopers Brigade
  • Unit 101
  • Golani Brigade

Ariel Sharon (Hebrew: אֲרִיאֵל שָׁרוֹן; IPA: [aʁiˈ(ʔ)el ʃaˈʁon]; Ariʼēl Sharōn; also known by his diminutive Arik, אָרִיק‎, born Ariel Scheinermann, אֲרִיאֵל שַׁיינֶרְמָן‎; 26 February 1928 – 11 January 2014) was an Israeli general and politician who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Israel from March 2001 until April 2006.

Early life

PikiWiki Israel 2693 People of Israel אריק שרון ואביו
Ariel Sharon at age 14 (second from right)

Sharon was born on 26 February 1928 in Kfar Malal, an agricultural moshav, then in Mandatory Palestine, to Shmuel Scheinerman (1896–1956) of Brest-Litovsk and Vera (née Schneirov) Scheinerman (1900–1988) of Mogilev. His parents met while at university in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), where Sharon's father was studying agronomy and his mother was studying medicine. They immigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1922 in the wake of the Russian Communist government's growing persecution of Jews in the region. In Palestine, Vera Scheinerman went by the name Dvora.

At age 10, he joined the youth movement HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed. As a teenager, he began to take part in the armed night-patrols of his moshav.

In 1942 at the age of 14, Sharon joined the Gadna, a paramilitary youth battalion, and later the Haganah, the underground paramilitary force and the Jewish military precursor to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).


Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948. As a soldier and then an officer, he participated in the 1948 Palestine war. He became a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade and took part in many battles, including Operation Bin Nun Alef.

He was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101 and the reprisal operations, as well as in the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition, and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973. Yitzhak Rabin called Sharon "the greatest field commander in our history".

Upon retirement from the military, Sharon entered politics. He joined the Likud party, and served in a number of ministerial posts in Likud-led governments in 1977–92 and 1996–99. As Minister of Defense, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War. In 1983, he was sent away from the government after he was found to be guilty for not preventing a massacre in Lebanon where many hundreds of civilians were killed by other civilians. His role in the massacre led to him being known as the "Butcher of Beirut" among Arabs.

From the 1970s through to the 1990s, Sharon championed construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

He became the leader of the Likud in 2000, and was elected Prime Minister of Israel after defeating Ehud Barak in the 2001 prime ministerial election.

He served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006, during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. As Prime Minister, Sharon orchestrated Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2004–05. Facing stiff opposition to this policy within the Likud, in November 2005 he left Likud to form a new party, Kadima.


In 1950, Sharon took leave from the military to begin studies in history and Middle Eastern culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Later, he studied military theory at Staff College in Camberley, England. Sharon graduated with a law degree from Tel Aviv University in 1966.

Health issues and death

Sharon had been obese since the 1980s, and also had suspected chronic high blood pressure and high cholesterol – at 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall, he was reputed to weigh 115 kg (254 lb).

In December 2005, Sharon was taken into hospital. On January 4, 2006, Sharon was again taken to the hospital. He had a big stroke (bleeding in the brain). Rumours spread immediately of his death, though these were denied by his physicians. It was soon reported and later confirmed that Sharon was in a coma.

Sharon died on 11 January 2014. He died from kidney failure and stroke complications at the hospital in Ramat Gan. He was aged 85.

His state funeral was held on 13 January. He was buried in line with Jewish burial customs. It was held as soon after death as possible. The day before the funeral, Sharon's body and coffin were placed in the Knesset building for people to see. His funeral began with an official ceremony held in the Knesset chamber. Politicians from Israel and other countries attended. His funeral was then held at his family's farm in the Negev desert. Sharon was buried there beside his wife, Lily.

Leaders attended his funeral service included Joe Biden, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Personal life

Lily and Ariel Sharon in New York
Sharon and wife Lily Sharon in New York in 1974

Sharon was married twice, to two sisters, Margalit and Lily Zimmerman, who were from Romania. Sharon met Margalit in 1947 when she was 16, while she was tending a vegetable field, and married her in 1953, shortly after becoming a military instructor. Margalit was a supervisory psychiatric nurse. They had one son, Gur. Margalit died in a car accident in May 1962 and Gur died in October 1967, aged 11, after a friend accidentally shot him while the two children were playing with a rifle at the Sharon family home. After Margalit's death, Sharon married her younger sister, Lily. They had two sons, Omri and Gilad, and six grandchildren. Lily Sharon died of lung cancer in 2000.


Sharon remains a highly polarizing figure in Middle East history. Israelis almost universally revere Sharon as a war hero and statesman who played a vital role in defining the country's borders, whereas Palestinians revile Sharon as a war criminal who suppressed their aspirations for statehood.


The Ariel Sharon Park, an environmental park near Tel Aviv, is named for him.

In the Negev desert, the IDF is currently building its city of training bases, Camp Ariel Sharon. In total, a NIS 50 billion project, the city of bases is named after Ariel Sharon, the largest active construction project in Israel, it is to become the largest IDF base in Israel.

Interesting facts about Ariel Sharon

  • Sharon had a sister Yehudit (Dita), who was two years older.
  • He was not religious and did not attend church throughout his life.
  • He spoke both Hebrew and Russian.
  • When in the military, Sharon was decribed as sometimes aggressive and disobedient, but also brilliant as a commander.
  • A photo of Sharon wearing a head bandage on the Suez Canal became a famous symbol of Israeli military prowess.
  • Stories of Sharon's appetite and obesity were legendary in Israel. He would often joke about his love of food and expansive girth. His staff car would reportedly be stocked with snacks and caviar.

Overview of offices held

Sharon served as prime minister (Israel's head of government) from 7 March 2001 through 14 April 2006 (with Ehud Olmert serving as acting prime minister beginning 4 January 2006, after Sharon slipped into a coma). As prime minister he led the 12th government during the 15th Knesset and the 13th government during the 16th Knesset.

Sharon served in the Knesset, first for several months in 1973, and later from 1977 through 2006. Sharon. From July 1999 through July 2000, Sharon served as the unofficial/honorary Knesset's opposition leader. Thereafter, from July 2000 through March 2001, he served as the first official designated Knesset opposition leader.

Sharon was the leader of the Shlomtzion party from its 1976 founding until its 1977 merger into Likud. Sharon served as leader of the Likud party from 1999 through 2005, leaving to create Kadima which he led from 2005 through early 2006 (when he fell into a coma).

In addition to these positions and his ministerial roles, Sharon also served as a special aide to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin from June 1975 through March 1976.

Ministerial posts

Ministerial posts
Ministerial post Tenure Prime Minister(s) Government(s) Predecessor Successor
Minister of Agriculture 20 June 1977–5 August 1981 Menachem Begin 18 Aharon Uzan Simha Erlich
Minister of Defense 5 August 1981–14 February 1983 Menachem Begin 19 Menachem Begin Menachem Begin
Minister without portfolio 14 February 1983–13 September 1984 Menachem Begin (until 10 October 1983)
Yitzhak Shamir (from 10 October 1983)
19, 20 N/A N/A
Minister of Industry and Trade 13 September 1984–20 February 1990 Yitzhak Rabin (until 20 October 1986)
Yitzhak Shamir (from 20 October 1986)
21, 22, 23 Gideon Patt Moshe Nissim
Minister of Housing and Construction 11 June 1990–13 July 1992 Yitzhak Shamir 24 David Levy Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Minister of Energy 8 July 1996–6 July 1999 Benjamin Netanyahu 27 Yitzhak Levy Eli Suissa
Minister of Foreign Affairs (first tenure) 13 October 1998–6 June 1999 Benjamin Netanyahu 27 Benjamin Netanyahu David Levy
Minister of Immigrant Absorption 7 March 2001–28 February 2003 Ariel Sharon 29 Yuli Tamir Tzipi Livni
Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labour (second tenure) 2 November 2002–28 February 2003 Ariel Sharon 29 Dalia Itzik Ehud Olmert
Minister of Foreign Affairs (second tenure) 2 October 2002–6 November 2002 Ariel Sharon 29 Shimon Peres Benjamin Netanyahu
Minister of Communications 28 February 2003–17 August 2003 Ariel Sharon 30 Reuven Rivlin Ehud Olmert
Minister of Religious Affairs 28 February 2003–31 December 2003 Ariel Sharon 30 Asher Ohana Yitzhak Cohen

Electoral history

2001 direct election for Prime Minister

2001 Israeli prime ministerial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Likud Ariel Sharon 1,698,077 62.38
Labor Ehud Barak (incumbent) 1,023,944 37.62
Turnout 2,722,021 62.29

Party leadership elections

1984 Herut leadership election
Candidate Votes  %
Yitzhak Shamir (incumbent) 407 56.45
Ariel Sharon 306 42.44
Aryeh Chertok 8 1.11
Total votes 721 100
1992 Likud leadership election
Candidate Votes  %
Yitzhak Shamir (incumbent) 46.4
David Levy 31.2
Ariel Sharon 22.3
September 1999 Likud leadership election
Candidate Votes  %
Ariel Sharon 53
Ehud Olmert 24
Meir Sheetrit 22
Voter turnout 34.8%
2002 Likud leadership election
Candidate Votes  %
Ariel Sharon (incumbent) 55.9
Benjamin Netanyahu 40.1
Moshe Feiglin 3.5
Voter turnout 46.2%

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ariel Sharón para niños

kids search engine
Ariel Sharon Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.