Ariel Sharon

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Dr. Ian Lustick, a professor of political science in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania

Credentials: 

  • Former White House consultant on Middle East affairs and national security.
  • Has taught Israeli politics for more than 30 years.

Quote: "Ariel Sharon was the ‘Zelig’ of Israeli politics. He was not only present, from 1948 until his stroke, in almost every key juncture of Israeli national life, but his participation reflected both the country's dramatic successes and its tragic failures. Look behind the public face of events at almost every juncture, and you will see Ariel

“Arik” Sharon. He nearly died from wounds in the battle of Latrun in1948; became the leader of the notorious but, for Israelis, inspiring and secret "Unit 101" that conducted brutal retaliation raids into Jordan, Syria and Egypt; his actions helped trigger the 1956 War; his brilliant but reckless leadership in battle and ferocious interpersonal style led to high casualties on both sides, fear of him among his colleagues, and admiration among the troops.

“He was both the architect of the massive settlement policy and the man responsible for destroying the urban settlement of Yamit in Sinai and the evacuation of Israeli settlers from Gaza. He was a man of huge appetites, whose objectives were never modest.  His actions usually produced damaging, unintended strategic consequences that made the problems he was trying to solve seem minor by comparison. When, as Prime Minister, he became aware of the need for prudence, neither his body nor Israeli politics, both of which he had abused, could follow where he finally decided to lead.”

 

Media contact: Jacquie Posey, 215-898-6460 or jposey@upenn.edu